Responsible Leadership in a Changing World
February 10th, 2012
“Under my leadership, Canada will be a responsible leader in a changing world. We will project a bold and ambitious agenda for cooperation. We will be committed to building a more compassionate, peaceful and sustainable world.” Paul Dewar
The reality of today' global interconnectedness requires leadership that understands the complexity of the world we live in. We need a leader who has the experience to protect Canadian interests and advance Canadian values on the international stage.
As a former aid worker and Jack Layton’s foreign affairs critic, Paul Dewar has the experience and the vision to make Canada a responsible leader in our changing world.
1. Advancing Peace and Security
Conflict prevention is the essence of Paul Dewar’s foreign policy. Paul Dewar is committed to making Canada a leader in mediating, not militarizing, conflicts.
Under Dewar’s leadership, Canada’s capacity in conflict prevention, conflict resolution and post-conflict reconciliation will be strengthened. Dewar wants Ottawa to become an international hub of expertise and assistance for peace building objectives.
In contrast to the Harper government, under which Canada's role on the international stage has diminished, a Paul Dewar government would put renewed focus on Canada’s diplomatic strength. He would launch a strategy to consolidate existing expertise, deepen Canada’s diplomatic engagement, and set clear parameters for military involvement in conflicts.
Canada can and must achieve its foreign policy objectives by convincing the world of our positions, rather than isolating ourselves with narrow, self-interested engagement in world events. Instead of attacking the European Union for expressing concern about the climate impact of oil sands development, Canada would work with international partners to develop a binding treaty to curb emissions. Instead of heightening rhetoric and choosing sides in the Middle East conflict, Canada would help achieve a negotiated solution by being a fair, trusted and honest broker.
Diplomacy is the core of conflict prevention, and with a government committed to advancing Canadian values abroad through engagement, Canada can have a significant and positive impact on world events.
A government led by Paul Dewar would create a Centre for Peacebuilding and Human Security with a dedicated team of experts to deliver practical and interdisciplinary responses to human security threats like conflict, humanitarian disasters, large-scale human rights violations, and environmental degradation. Modeled after the UK Conflict Prevention Pool, this group of experts will harness the expertise of Canadian civil servants from departments of Foreign Affairs, International Development and Defense, academics and recognized practitioners from civil society—many of whom have frontline experience in the world’s trouble spots.
Dewar would ensure Canadian leadership in achieving international treaties on small arms control and nuclear disarmament.
The current tensions with Iran indicate the stark difference between Harper’s approach and Dewar’s approach to foreign policy. Unlike Harper, who is engaged in reckless and provocative rhetoric from the sidelines, Dewar would be firm in opposition to nuclear armament and play a central role in diplomatic efforts to advance that objective while avoiding a military conflict with Iran. As Leader of the Official Opposition, Dewar will oppose Canadian engagement in a military conflict with Iran.
Military intervention should always be a last resort. Unlike Harper, Dewar will engage in high-level diplomacy to prevent military conflicts. He will be an honest broker in international disagreements and take advantage of Canada’s diplomatic professionalism and even handedness to prevent outbreaks of wars.
When prevention fails, Paul Dewar is committed to the principle of the Responsibility to Protect—the moral obligation to intervene to protect civilian lives where a domestic government is unwilling or unable to do so. Dewar’s government would assess the need for Canadian involvement on a case-by-case basis, giving consideration only to missions with a United Nations mandate. He would put any such decision to a Parliamentary debate and vote, subject to a quarterly review as a precondition for continued support.
Recognizing the reality of Canada’s integrated partnership in trade and diplomacy with the United States, Paul Dewar’s policies will grow Canada’s influence in Washington, as American administrations look to Ottawa as a diplomatic leader where Washington lacks access and influence.
2. Fighting Poverty, protecting human rights
Paul Dewar will recommit Canada to reducing global poverty through education, access to health care and economic development by untying aid and meeting the longstanding target of devoting 0.7% of Canada’s Gross National Income to official development assistance.
Paul Dewar will implement legislation to graduate the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) from the level of an agency to a full government department. The new Department of International Development would use its new powers and resources to advance the primary goal of poverty alleviation, and set clear rules to ensure aid effectiveness.
Dewar will stand up for human rights internationally, including leadership in an international campaign to end the death penalty.
3. Championing Women’s Empowerment
Women and girls are the greatest asset in the struggle to promote economic growth, increase equality, and strengthen democracy in the developing world. Given the most basic support, investing in women brings incredible results: for every 1% increase in the proportion of women with secondary education, a developing country's annual per capita income growth rate will increase by about 0.3 percentage point. For Canada to make a difference in the world, we need to deliver for girls and women.
An NDP government led by Paul Dewar will make the economic, educational and democratic empowerment of women and girls a core focus of Canada's development policy. Working with partners in developing countries, the new Department of International Development would focus efforts on gender equality as a key path towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Paul Dewar would also end the ban on funding for organizations that provide women with a full range of options for family planning and care.
In conflicts worldwide, rape is used as a weapon to destroy communities and displace people from their resource-rich lands. Too often women are left out of the peace process once conflict ceases. Dewar would make the elimination of rape as a weapon of war and the promotion of women's meaningful participation in peace building a central plank of Canada’s international diplomacy. Canada will lead an international campaign for Just Minerals – to end the trade of conflict minerals that sustain the horrific violence in Africa's Great Lakes region.
Dewar would begin with the full and immediate implementation of Canada’s National Action Plan on United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security. Dewar’s government will recruit and train women in peacekeeping and peacebuilding, with the resources necessary to end sexual and gender-based violence, strengthen prevention capacity and improve response and support for survivors.
4. Tackling Climate Change
Climate change is the greatest threat to our collective existence. Canada must become an honest partner in the efforts to tackle climate change. Instead, Stephen Harper has refused to take concrete measures to reduce Canada’s Greenhouse gas emissions and plays a spoiler role in international negotiations on climate change.
Paul Dewar will place the health of the environment at the centre of an NDP foreign policy. He will build Canada’s credibility by respecting international commitments, embracing multilateralism, and recognizing the centrality of climate change to our shared survival and economic prosperity.
Worsening climate change is making its biggest impact on the least developed countries. Canada’s response must demonstrate a commitment to mitigate worsening and increasing costs associated with the consequences of climate change: poverty, humanitarian disasters, and social strife including terrorism.
Paul Dewar will be an active participant in global negotiations on climate change. The complexity of the negotiations with 192 countries has become an excuse for those like Harper who wish to maintain the status quo. To ensure a better outcome at the global negotiations, the G20’s focus must be expanded to include climate change. At his first G20 meeting, Dewar will play a leadership role to make progress on an agreement among the countries that account for the vast majority of emissions and hold the economic capability to take action against climate change.
5. Promoting a Responsible Trade Agenda
Free trade agreements between Canada and other countries must not only reflect a strong economic or political relationship – but shared values and global objectives. A Paul Dewar government will implement a responsible trade policy that will not accede to free trade deals that undermine Canadian sovereignty by superseding local and national standards. Paul Dewar will also not commit to free trade deals with countries with poor human rights or democratic records unless such deals include provisions that commit to measurable governance improvements by such trade partners.
A Dewar-led government will actively promote Canadian businesses abroad who play by Canadian rules and laws—this includes upholding responsible environmental and labour standards. After implementing strong corporate social responsibility legislation, Canadian companies operating abroad will be known for their high standards of CSR. Those found guilty of serious illegality abroad will be barred from receiving government support, including generous financing arrangements from Crown agencies such as Export Development Canada, for a 10-year period.
A Dewar-led government will use its position in the G8 to end one of the biggest impediments to economic growth in poor countries—unequal trade barriers. Canada will lead by example by lifting these barriers on least developed countries that have committed to, or have a demonstrated record of, democracy, respect for human rights and the Rule of Law.