The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

Posts tagged “military

Peace’s Missing Component

Posted on April 26, 2018

The headlines have been fairly consistent.  “Canada Introduces a New Era in Peacekeeping,” notes Legion magazine.  “UN Peacekeeping in a New Era,” is the title of a policy piece by the Routledge Group.  The Globe and Mail headline read, “Liberals Grapple with a New Era of Peacekeeping.” It’s remains a difficult thing to discern exactly what this new era entails, but with much of the emphasis on troops, helicopters, the risks and dysfunctional nations overseas, we could be missing the most important resource.  One headline from 2015 asked a key question: “Peacekeeping Has Evolved: Is Canada Ready?”  Well, that depends on if, and how, that resource is utilized. The resource is women, in all of their wisdom, lived experience, survival skills, military knowledge, understanding…

Keeping the Peace in a New World

Posted on September 1, 2016

LAST WEEK’S ANNOUNCEMENT OF future peacekeeping intentions provided some clarity on the resources committed to such efforts, though the precise locations for involvement remained vague. Until the Trudeau government finalizes its review of Canada’s engagement strategy in the larger world, it remains a difficult thing to target any one area. Nevertheless, the pledge of 600 troops supplied by a $450 million budget represents an intention to elevate peacekeeping to a place of higher priority. Given modern realities, the announcement isn’t about attempting to recapture the lustre of the past but a necessary look to the future. When Lester Pearson won his Nobel Peace Prize in 1957, largely for designing the UN Emergency Force to resolve the Suez Canal crisis, military might was almost the…

Lead by Example or Force: Which is It?

Posted on November 26, 2015

IN 2003, THE U.S. ARMY SPONSORED a conference in Washington to consider the possibilities of soft power, among other things. When asked by the media what he thought of the insights into soft power that had just been presented, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld appeared a bit miffed and answered, “I don’t know what it means.” That lack of understanding and appreciation of power in its other low-key forms would ultimately contribute to the chaotic nature of the Iraq war. But, in truth, the lack of knowledge of soft power is part of our problem as well, especially as Canada continues to mull over its role as part of the 65-member coalition fighting ISIS. And when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he wanted to help…

The Hidden Costs of the F-35

Posted on April 9, 2012

At no point in my final year in Parliament was there any concrete belief in the estimated costs offered by the government for the next generation of fighter aircraft – the F-35. Every single attempt by committee, Question Period, Order Paper queries, or even through the budget estimate process to get answers was rebuffed. A lot was made last week of how Defense Ministry staff were keeping the escalating estimates away from their political masters, but that only tells half the story. I blogged at the time of sitting in Pearson airport when one of the top military brass opened a discussion with me on how he felt the jets were too expensive, and he even suggested a credible alternative. While he no doubt…

Situation Report

Posted on March 24, 2010

In an earlier post we referred to the reality that at some point more critical analysis will eventually emerge concerning the emergency and development response to the Haitian earthquake. It now appears that some key insights are beginning to roll in. But before we get into it here, we must all acknowledge that there is no way to get such huge catastrophes and the commensurate humanitarian reaction 100% right. We learn better responses as we progress from crisis to crisis, and the Haitian emergency will be no different. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) published one of its key situation reports in March and the observations are instructive. In and around the Cap-Haitian municipality, the most current assessment discovered…