March 7, 2016
The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, P.C., M.P.
Prime Minister of Canada
Dear Prime Minister:
We are writing on behalf of the Nanaimo Branch of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. The League was established in 1915. Its primary objectives today include preventing war by ongoing mediation and negotiated settlement of conflicts and strengthening the United Nations.
We agree with the decision to withdraw Canada’s CF-18s from Coalition bombing missions in Iraq and Syria. It is good that Canada is moving in the direction of increasing humanitarian assistance and providing aid to countries like Jordan and Lebanon that have been overwhelmed by the ongoing refugee crisis. We also agree with the Liberal government bringing thousands of war refugees to Canada.
Although you have stated that airstrikes do not achieve “long-term stability for local communities,” we would like to see Canada taking action to end support for refueling and surveillance that serve to prolong armed conflict in the Middle East. Canada may no longer be directly responsible for civilian deaths and devastation of cities due to bombing missions, but our indirect responsibility and culpability are morally reprehensible.
We question the need to allocate more military personnel for training local fighters and to increase the number of Canadian soldiers deployed to “Joint Task Force-Iraq.” We are greatly concerned that Canada’s lack of success in Afghanistan will be repeated in Syria.
Here are actions toward peace that we do want our government to take:
Make every diplomatic effort possible to see that the major participants in the Syrian conflict, which has grown beyond a civil war, continue the present partial ceasefire and work immediately toward lasting peace.
Follow the lead of the European Union Parliament that has voted for an arms embargo against Saudi Arabia to protest the Saudi bombing campaign in Yemen. This means canceling the sale of light armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia. Canada will not be a better nation for having jobs and business profits clearly associated with horrific numbers of deaths and increased instability in the Middle East.
Strengthen reporting requirements on the export of arms and their component parts. Ensure that Canadian arms exports are strictly monitored and are in compliance with Canadian law and policy.
Show leadership in strengthening the United Nations in its conflict resolution, humanitarian assistance and development work. Seek to play a key role in the meeting of the UN Sustainable Development Goals 2030. Meeting these goals will help shape a better and more peaceful world for all the generations to come.
Thank you for your attention to our concerns. We would greatly appreciate the kindness of a reply.
Susan Nelson, PhD
Members, Nanaimo Branch,
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom
Sheila Malcolmson, MP, Nanaimo-Ladysmith
Hon. Stéphane Dion, PC MP, Minister of Foreign Affairs
Hon. Marie-Claude Bibeau, PC MP, Minister of International Development
Hon. Harjit S. Sajjan, PC MP, Minister of National Defense
Hon. Chrystia Freeland, PC MP, Minister of International Trade
Hon. Robert Nault, MP, Chair, Foreign Affairs Committee