Question 4: What can Canada do to strengthen the United Nations?

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Federal party responses below.

World Federalists support the application of the principles of federalism to world affairs, in order that global governance becomes more equitable, just and democratically accountable. There are a number of specific approaches to strengthening the United Nations.

Responsibility to Protect

WFMC monitors and supports the progressive development of the Responsibility to Protect normative framework, which addresses the international community’s failure to prevent and stop genocides, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.

The Responsibility to Protect stipulates that the State carries the primary responsibility for the protection of populations from genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing and that the international community has a responsibility to assist States in fulfilling this responsibility. Additionally, the international community should use appropriate diplomatic, humanitarian and other peaceful means to protect populations from these crimes. Crucially, if a State fails to protect its populations or is the perpetrator of crimes, the international community must be prepared to take stronger measures, including the collective use of force through the UN Security Council.

The Campaign for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly

WFMC participates actively in the Campaign for the Establishment of a Parliamentary Assembly at the United Nations (UNPA), a global network that advocates democratic representation of the world’s citizens at the United Nations. WFMC’s support for a UN Parliamentary Assembly is rooted in a dedication to the principles of democracy and the rule of law.

In an era of globalization, many important decisions affecting the lives of the world’s citizens are made at the international level, by organizations like the United Nations and related agencies. To help ensure international cooperation and to enhance the legitimacy of the UN, people must be more effectively and directly included in the activities of the UN. A United Nations Parliamentary Assembly would give elected citizen representatives, not only states, a direct and influential role in global policy. Establishing a UNPA offers a pragmatic, gradual approach to this important global governance imperative.

Starting as a largely consultative body, the rights and powers of the UNPA could be expanded over time as its democratic legitimacy increases. The assembly will act as an independent watchdog in the UN system and as a democratic reflection of the diversity of world public opinion.

United Nations Emergency Peacekeeping Service (UNEPS)

WFM-Canada supports the creation of a permanent standing UN Emergency Peace Service, which would include civilian, police, judicial, and military personnel.

This would be a permanent, integrated UN formation that would be ready for immediate deployment upon authorization by the UN Security Council. A UNEPS would be paid for from the UN regular budget. Estimates of the costs vary, but start-up expenses could be as high as $2 to $3 billion. Annual recurring costs would be approximately $1 billion. These costs would be shared among 193 member states. While these estimates may seem high, by comparison with the military expenditures of many UN member states, the cost of a UNEPS is modest.

A UNEPS is specifically designed to help with the prevention of armed conflict; stopping genocide and mass atrocity crimes; protecting civilians at extreme risk; ensuring prompt beginnings to peace operations; and addressing human needs in areas where others cannot. 

Seventy-fifth anniversary of the United Nations

The UN General Assembly has passed a resolution on the Commemoration of the seventy-fifth anniversary of the United Nations, which will occur in 2020.

The resolution calls for Member States to actively support the commemoration through national initiatives that raise awareness of the work of the United Nations and the importance of multilateralism in addressing global challenges. It also encourages Member States to find ways to support the work of civil society in this area and to make financial contributions to a UN Trust Fund in support of the commemoration.

Which of the following measures intended to strengthen the United Nations do you support?

  • the Responsibility to Protect  (Green Party, NDP)
  • a United Nations Emergency Peace Service (Green Party, NDP)
  • a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly (Green Party, NDP)
  • the 75th anniversary of the United Nations (Green Party, NDP)
  • Other

Further detail from the NDP:

With respect to UN Parliamentary Assembly, we are open to exploring this idea in order strengthen democratic representation at the United Nations. 

Response from the Liberal Party:

Canada is a firm supporter of the rules-based international order and the multilateral institutions that underpin it. We recognize that for these institutions to continue to be useful, they need to be reformed. Canada has actively worked on these efforts at the UN in New York.

Canada is also campaigning for a UN Security Council seat and our government has been focused on who we are and what we stand for as a country. Our approach in this campaign had been to talk to our partners about what we stand for, talk to them about why our values, which we show every day in the way we conduct our foreign policy, are values they want to have expressed at the Security Council. That message, about democracy, human rights, and a more prosperous future for all, is a message which is resonating and we will continue to promote it at every opportunity.

Beyond the United Nations and its bodies, we will also provide international institutions like the International Criminal Court, the World Trade Organization, and others, with additional resources to better enforce international law and the rules-based international order.

We will also build on our government’s accomplishments in multilateralism and continue to move forward with a principled approach that puts democracy, human rights, international law, and environmental protection at the heart of foreign policy. To this end, we will establish the Canadian Centre for Peace, Order, and Good Government, which will lend expertise and help to people seeking to build peace, advance justice, promote human rights and democracy, and deliver good governance.

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