Open letter to all Canadian Political Parties

(I sent this to all of them today)

Dear Hopefuls,

A few days ago my husband and I sat in a coffee shop in, of all places, Hope (BC) and discussed the state of the world. In spite of being in a town with an optimistic name we were not hopeful but rather incredibly concerned and upset about the Canadian role with respect to Libya.

Of course we want to see democracy prevail but there is no guarantee that supporting rebels (whose motives may be misunderstood) is going to help the situation. As well, the lack of consistency doesn’t help us trust the process. Why intervene in Libya but not Syria, Yemen, etc.? Looking at statements from the current political parties provides nothing encouraging or enlightening. The strategies proposed are unclear and they are not sustainable. Inaction seems wrong, but muddled, misguided action can be even worse.

The world needs a fair and democratic world institution that can decide how best to deal with world leaders who break international law. The United Nations has not been able to achieve what’s required.  Canada could take action by taking the lead on determining if it’s even possible to make the UN more functional or Canada could work to create a new organization if necessary (and it probably is). With previous leaders such as Lester B. Pearson, we have a history of being innovative peacekeepers and it would be wonderful to bring back that image of what Canada could and SHOULD stand for.

Imagine if Canadian resources were being put towards solving this problem. We could bypass the invitation to be part of bombing raids on Libya because we would be too busy working to ensure that international law and human rights EVERYWHERE could be consistently upheld as soon as possible.

ANY candidate in the next election who proposes this will be resurrecting a fine Canadian tradition. Explain yourself clearly, show that you have a plan and ensure your constituents that the work would be the most valuable form of action possible. You will get a lot of votes and you’ll certainly get mine.


One Response to Open letter to all Canadian Political Parties

  1. Here’s what the Green Party wrote back to me (at least they answered with something other than a “we appreciate your comments” form letter)

    Dear Ms. Wellburn,

    The Green Party of Canada has called for a rapid and robust international diplomatic intervention in Libya.

    On the diplomatic table should be an ultimatum to divert Libyan oil revenues to a United Nations escrow account by a set target date in order to make clear to the Gadhafi Regime that they will not be able to outlast the current UN intervention. “We must keep in mind the priority to prevent the death of countless innocent Libyan civilians,” said Ellen Michelson, Green Peace and Security Critic. “Military presence must also be balanced by diplomatic efforts to ensure that loss of life and damage to infrastructure is minimized.”

    “The risk of civil war is real and concerning. It is our hope that the UN arms embargo and the no-fly zone will mitigate that situation but we reiterate that Canada should also be pushing for a diplomatic solution,” said Eric Walton, Green Critic for International Affairs.

    One of the Green Party of Canada’s key values is of non-violence. We believe that security should not rest mainly on military strength but on cooperation, sound economic and social development, environmental safety, and respect for human rights.
    The Green Party also wholeheartedly agrees with your position on the United Nations, and advocates for strengthening the United Nations as the global organisation of conflict management and peacekeeping.

    If you have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to email us again at

    and here’s how I replied to their reply

    Thanks for your reply.

    I am disappointed though, because your message doesn’t indicate that you realize that civil war already *is* taking place in Libya, you do not explain how you would work to ensure that an effective global organization could be developed (“strengthening the UN” sounds nice but what do you actually mean by that?) AND (probably the most important point) the UN arms embargo will probably be officially broken by the West very soon

    I believe in non-violence, but also realize that sometimes violence is necessary, for instance during the policing that is required to uphold the law (whether domestic or international) but I do not believe it is right to take sides, particularly when so little was understood about the side being supported at the time the decision was made.

    I have blogged about a simple comparison between the current situation and a family dispute. We would never expect our local police to solve domestic violence by encouraging other family members to fight back. Instead, the problem would be solved by restraining anyone in the household who was committing violence and then we would let the courts and legal system address this according to the law.

    I really hope the Green Party will see the problems with their current stand on the intervention in Libya.

    thank you

    Elizabeth Wellburn

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