Before the Prime Minister leaves for Brussels Elizabeth May urges him to remember Canada’s peacekeeping legacy

July 09, 2018
(OTTAWA) — Elizabeth May today called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to “publicly and forcefully” reject President Donald Trump’s demands for major increases in military spending by members of the NATO alliance. She said the upcoming NATO summit in Brussels is an opportunity for Canada to reaffirm its commitment to peacekeeping and regain its position as a respected voice among the NATO member countries.

“For nearly ten years Stephen Harper’s Conservatives worked to derail Canadian diplomacy. Trudeau came to power signalling a return to our Pearsonian tradition but there remains a lot of work to do before we get back on track,” said Ms. May. “Currently Canada spends 0.26 of its GDP in foreign aid. This is half as much as both Pierre Trudeau and Brian Mulroney’s governments. And it’s far from the .7 percent target Lester B. Pearson called for in 1968.”

“NATO was born after the great upheaval of the Second World War and at the beginning of the Cold War. As we entered a divided world, in an era where nuclear war was an imminent threat, the absurdity of war and its causes became more apparent. Pearson, Canada’s most distinguished ambassador of peace, saw this clearly and urged that advanced democracies assist in the alleviation of poverty, in helping marginalized groups and in fostering democracy around the world. This was the way to bring the stability and peace people around the world wanted.”

“It is no surprise that Trump will have us go in the opposite direction. And so he’s demanding that NATO members pay a full two percent of their GDP to share the ‘burden of managing an uncertain security environment’. The Prime Minister should speak to the real source of this fractious world–the egregious divide between rich and poor nations–and up the ante by demanding that NATO make nuclear disarmament a priority and follow the advice of the Canadians for a Nuclear Weapons Convention who encouraged ‘Canada to become a leader within NATO in seeking the denuclearization of the Alliance and urging it into conformity with the goal of a world without nuclear weapons.’”

“In a world that is increasingly persuaded by ‘might is right’ and where strongmen are staking their claims over more and more territory and power–Putin, Erdogan, Jinping–the world desperately needs a voice to remind the international community of the need to cooperate and of the need to take the actions necessary for peaceful co-existence. Bono was right, the world needs more Canada. Let’s not be afraid to speak up.”