Branch news

Branch News (June 2017)

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The Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences took place from May 27 to June 2 in Toronto. WFMC Toronto Branch President Helmut Burkhardt led a workshop entitled “Desirability and Feasibility of a World Federation,” at the annual meeting of the Canadian Peace Research Association. Speakers for this panel included Burkhardt on “Priorities for a Culturally Unbiased World Federation”; Peter Venton, retired senior economist and policy advisor, Ministry of Finance in the Government of the Province of Ontario on the “Peace Dividend of a World Federation”; Walter Dorn speaking about “World Federalism and a more technologically-enabled United Nations”; John Trent on “Getting there”; Shreesh Juyal on “The Non-Align Foreign Policy Determinants of India”; and Danny Goldstick speaking to “A Case Against.”

Montreal

At their AGM in April, the Montreal branch heard remarks from Scott Cooper speaking on the topic of “Inter-Community Problem-Solving for Trust-Building.” In his presentation, Scott Cooper drew from his wide experience at work in various positions in Canada and in Europe, emphasizing his experience in his work with indigenous communities in the Arctic. He focused on the importance of the action of individuals in intercommunity problem-solving. He gave 5 examples of individuals who had made things happen at the local level. He referred to the work of Hanna Newcombe, an early World Federalist, and her views on “responsibility for inaction”. He put forward some specific ideas as to how to improve inter-community consultation in Canada, in particular challenging our “smugness” about our institutions and problem-solving abilities, and our inability to scale up successes.

The Marie-Berthe Dion Issues Action Group continues to meet regularly. The branch also hosts regular coffee and discussion meetings.

Toronto

In January, WFMC Executive Director Fergus Watt spoke in Toronto on the topic of “Building a World Community: Principles, Strategy, Advocacy.” In April, Bill Freeman gave a presentation introducing his new book, “Democracy Rising: Politics and Participation in Canada.”

Regular meetings have been taking place in Toronto since the branch was re-established last year. The branch now has a website at wfmc-toronto.org

45 people attended a reception June 2 where WFMC President Walter Dorn was the guest speaker. Dorn traced the evolution of international organizations and the historical trends leading to a reduction in violence.

Vancouver

In December, WFMC President Walter Dorn spoke to the branch on the topic of “World Federalism in the Wake of the Trump Election Victory” and the future of world government and related issues, such as democracy and sovereignty.

Branch member Larry Kazdan, publisher of the blog Modern Monetary Theory in Canada, gave a presentation in March on “Financing Sustainable Development.” According to Kazdan, our current financial assumptions lead to preoccupation with asking “Where is the money going to come from?” rather than acknowledging that as long as we have idle human and nonhuman resources, finance need not be an obstacle.

At the April meeting, branch president Vivian Davidson

led a conversation on planning the future activities, as

new program directions for the Vancouver branch are

under development.

Victoria

In February, the branch welcomed Canada Research Chair in the Department of Political Science at the University of British Columbia, Michael Byers, who spoke on “Trump’s view of the world and its implications for Canada.” Later in the month, the branch hosted former professor Paul Thomas speaking about “The New World disorder: Great Power Agendas and the Unravelling of the Eurasian Rimland” — and making the case that the area is of growing geo-strategic importance.

In April, Bill Pearce addressed the topic of “Reinvigorating the United Nations: How to overcome the veto power of the permanent members,” arguing that an analysis of the Charter demonstrates how the General Assembly has the residual power to make resolutions for peace and security when the Security Council is paralyzed by the obstructive conduct of one or more of the permanent members.

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