Sudan, Haiti, Sierra Leone, and the Republic of Congo. All these countries were shrouded in conflict no end in sight. That was until Canada helped control and contain the situation, putting an end to the violence and developing the path to peace. It is because of the selfless acts of the people in the blue helmets, known as peacekeepers, that Canada remains a power in the world of peacekeeping. Canada has been a key player in peacekeeping efforts from the Suez crisis to Sudan (Dorn, 2005). Peacekeeping is helping a country in conflict forage a path to peace by deploying troops from national or multinational forces, to help resolve and control conflict (Lewis, 1987).
Canada has been seen as an influential force in peacekeeping since the 1950’s when Lester B Pearson suggested to the UN that they create a separate peacekeeping force (Granatstein, 2006). Canada’s role in peacekeeping has evolved over the years from directly deploying troops to conflict scenarios, to currently sending reconnaissance units, signals, and if needed troops to areas of conflict to control the situation (GAC, 2017). Since the 1950’s Canada has been globally recognized as a peacekeeping superpower for its part in the Suez crisis, for which Lester. B. Pearson won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1957 (Dorn, 2005). Continuously Canada has used its expertise in peacekeeping to resolve conflict in different regions.
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Canada has also been able to create its own image of being a role model for peace and equality, which it uses to promote and proliferate peace and equality worldwide to make our Earth a better place. Canada participating in a peacekeeping role not only benefits the world but Canada itself; by proliferating world peace and equality, Canada itself by bolstering our international peace, equality and national identity. Canada is renowned for celebrating its homegrown organizations that are dedicated to promoting peace. Some of these organizations include: the British Columbia Council for International Cooperation and the Canadian Alliance for Development Initiatives and Projects (Government of Canada, 2017). Canada’s participation in so many active Canadian charities, demonstrates Canada’s dedication to the betterment of the world through promoting peace. If Canada stands behind and sponsors its own charities this shows that Canada, as a global peacekeeping superpower, identifies the instability of our world and the need for peaceful action. Canada uses its role as a leader in peacekeeping to show other countries how to act when they are placed in similar situations. In this case, Canada is demonstrating that the key to global peace is to start at home by creating your own peaceful and secure country before moving on to help others.
Canada maintains its own internal peace due to the many actions it takes upon itself, such as accepting hundreds of thousands of immigrants per year. One prime example would be the Syrian immigrants Canada has pledged and has already taken in. As of 2017, Canada has accepted around 40,000 Syrian refugees and counting (Citizenship Canada, 2017). In accepting so many immigrants Canada is setting precedent for itself and the world. A precedent whereby, in the face of conflict, uncertainty, and instability, the answer should always be how to remedy the situation using peace. In Canada’s example, Canada, rather than acting in a military capacity, pledged to accept a large number of the displaced Syrians and give them a better home. This exemplifies that Canada is pushing for a message of peace and tolerance to be spread, rather than violence and ignorance.
Lastly, the Canadian government is responsible for sponsoring many campaigns aimed at procuring peace in our world. The results of Canada’s contributions to programs mentioned earlier have led to Canada being voted one of the world’s most peaceful countries. In 2015, among the world’s 25 most peaceful countries, Canada took seventh place (Investin Ontario, 2017). Other Canadian accomplishments, that were presented as result of the world recognizing Canada’s contributions to world peace, include the second-highest ranking most peaceful country of any non-European country and the highest of any non-European country sharing a land border with another country (Fold, 2016). These achievements demonstrate that Canada is actually making a difference in the world.
Other countries recognize and respect the contributions and gains of Canadians, in terms of peace. Overall, Canada is able to lead other countries to peaceful existence through its own actions such as sponsoring local charities and setting its own precedents. Canada is able to use its social standing and prominence in the world of peace to influence other countries towards living with equality and tolerance.
Canada is known as the pioneer and driving force behind some major initiatives aimed at creating equality and ending violence. Some programs include: The Elsie Initiative and the Vancouver Principles. On November 15, 2017, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Canada’s contribution of $15 million to establish the Elsie Initiative (Global Affairs Canada, 2018). Since it was Canada that took the steps to create this project, this shows that Canada recognizes the inequality present in not only Canada but across the world. This comes after Canada has played witness to many scenarios where women and men have not been given the same treatment. Canada sees the value of living in an equal world and strives for others to do the same. In addition, the Canadian government allows for inclusive governance, climate action, and economic opportunity, in its foreign affairs programs, all with a view to create a more equal world. In this new plan Canada will address women’s need for equal access to capital, digital technology and business development opportunities, and the problem of low or unpaid work (Barria, 2017).
Canada acting as a sponsor for these kinds of programs shows that Canada is trying to demonstrate that these programs are important and are needed for further development in the sector of equality. Canada is acting as a role model to show the world it is possible to live equally and still be a profitable country. Ultimately, Canadian foreign aid policies strive to work with local organizations abroad that support equality, such as the Feminist Assistance Policy (Barria, 2017), to ensure that everyone is given equal opportunity. Canada also supports projects that teach political skills such as debating, team building, and public speaking. For example, the International Development Research Centre, is funding a democracy-building project in Tunisia that will teach young women about democratic processes and institutions (Barria, 2017). Canada believes in working with projects that support the development of more involved citizens as that is the only way that the world can progress. If everyone is given the same opportunities to achieve, there is a higher chance of having a successful and more peaceful country.
It is impossible to have a world of peace if one group in society is still being treated unequally. Canada is a key player in world affairs surrounding equality and the development of equality. This is exemplified by Canada’s roles in projects such as the Elsie initiative and Feminist Assistance Project. The world will never know true peace unless all factions of society are treated fairly and equally, should they not be, unrest will constantly bubble under the surface.It should be noted that in addition to helping promote and maintain world peace Canada’s peacekeepers also act as a source of national pride for Canada.
It is through their actions abroad and at home that Canadian peacekeepers maintain and continue to produce an image of national pride. This may be proven by public opinion polls which have found that 90% of Canadians believe the government should continue to send troops on peacekeeping missions (Granatstein, 2006). Furthermore, simply looking at Canadian currency is proof that Canada’s feelings towards peacekeeping are still bright.
Examples include: the 2001 $10 Canadian bill, which showed a female soldier sporting a UN blue beret (Granatstein, 2006). When Canadians see on the news of the great deeds of Canadian peacekeepers to save the lives of endangered individuals, as a country feel a sense of pride. A sense of pride that what was right for the world was done no matter the consequences, so long as it leads to the betterment of the globe. Secondly, Canada’s involvement in peacekeeping missions abroad helps to keep Canadian troops trained and prepared for any scenarios, as no one can predict when a conflict will arise. Canadian troops are in a constant state of preparing for the unknown. Before any deployment, units must undergo months of mission-specific training that includes cultural awareness, reinforcement of the Geneva Conventions, and negotiating skills (Petrolekas, 2017). Due to the fact that Canadian troops do not know when they will be deployed they are in a constant state of preparation.
(Carroll, 2016) Finally, Canada’s peacekeeping endeavors have helped to strengthen its relationships with Canada’s allies such as the US. Currently, Canada is investing in a program it created called Global Affairs Canada’s new Peace and Stabilization Operations Program (PSOPs) (Government of Canada, 2017). These programs work with their allies on many fronts to build strong working relationships, that will lead to a higher success rate on peacekeeping missions. Canada works with allies and partners to help stop violence, provide security, create space for dialogue and conflict resolution through programs like the PSOP’s. Not only does peacekeeping help create a positive national identity but it also helps grow and strengthen the bonds with Canada’s allies. This is due to the fact that other countries can trust that Canada will be there to help them if a conflict arises. Canada’s commitment to programs like PSOPs shows that Canada is committed to creating bonds with other countries that will endure through any situation.
Canada not only aims to help the greater world but also itself. Canada also spreads peace and equality abroad but also maintains this within itself. This is evident by the way Canadians identify with peacekeeping and how they act when placed in situations abroad and with other countries. Canada’s actions as a global peacekeeper not only help integrate peace and equality within the country, but also act to spread Canadian peacekeeping values abroad. Canada’s actions towards growing and maintaining its own internal peace, helps to spread Canada’s brand of peace around the world.
Again, Canada uses its social standing within the world, as a country where equality is constantly strived for, to spread the message, that we are not equal untll we are all equal. Canada’s actions such as promoting equality initiatives, not only helps the greater world but also Canada itself. It is because of the brave and selfless actions of countless individuals that Canada may call itself a leader global peacekeeping. Canadian’s dedicated to making Canada and the world a better place are the reason why Canadian peacekeepers are fair and not foul. But it is also the actions of our government. If they dedicate themselves to projects and initiatives that promote peace and equality, the rest of Canada will follow suit.
Other people may argue that the funds required to support peacekeeping endeavors are taking too much away from Canada’s other issues that require funding. To this, one would say that peacekeeping does not only impact Canada and its citizens, but also the citizens of the world. Countless lives have been saved and countries rebuilt because of Canada’s peacekeeping operations.