A role of Pride and Influence in the World
EXCERPT FROM THE SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
THE HONOURABLE ADRIENNE CLARKSON, GOVERNOR GENERAL OF CANADA
OPENING OF THE FIRST SESSION OF THE 38TH PARLIAMENT
OCTOBER 5, 2004
A ROLE OF PRIDE AND INFLUENCE IN THE WORLD
“…In today’s world, effective international engagement is needed to advance national aspirations. Now that time and distance have lost their isolating effect, it is no longer possible to separate domestic and international policies. Canada’s internationalism is a real advantage, but we must find new ways to express it if we are to effectively assert our interests and project our values in a changing world.
Just as Canada’s domestic and international policies must work in concert, so too must our defence, diplomacy, development and trade efforts work in concert. This fall, the Government will release a comprehensive International Policy Statement that will reflect this integration. Parliamentarians and other Canadians will have the opportunity to debate its analyses and proposed directions.
Meanwhile, the world does not wait. The new security threats that face Canada demand new approaches immediately. The Government has already responded. In April of this year, it introduced Canada’s first-ever comprehensive National Security Policy, which will ensure a more focused and integrated approach to securing our open society. The Government is now implementing this policy. In this context, the Government is also deepening cooperation with the United States on mutual assistance in the event of major natural or human-caused emergencies.
This new context requires us to manage wisely our relationship with the United States, to know our friend better, and to strengthen our economic and security relations. Our relationship must be built on shared values, on mutual respect, and on a strong and independent voice for Canada. Enhancing Canada’s security means that we have to invest more in our military as part of defending ourselves at home, in North America and in the world. We have to earn our way in the world. But ours will never be the biggest military force, so it must be smart, strategic and focused.
Canada’s proud tradition as a leader in peacekeeping is being tested today by increasing demands in extremely dangerous and politically complicated situations, often involving failed and failing states. We have seen what extraordinary work Canadian men and women can do in places like Afghanistan, Bosnia and Haiti. We know that Canadians are among the best in the world in meeting the challenge of being soldiers to make the peace, diplomats to negotiate the peace and aid workers to nurture the peace.
That is why the Government will be increasing our regular forces by some 5,000 troops and our reserves by 3,000 so that they may be better prepared and equipped to meet these challenges.
As Darfur and other situations have shown, sometimes intervention is best achieved by regional forces attuned to their cultural and geographic conditions. In such cases, particularly in Africa, Canada intends to continue playing a role by training regional peacekeepers, to prepare them to conduct challenging security operations within the principles of international humanitarian law.
In so many of the world’s trouble spots, establishing order is only the first step. Poverty, despair and violence are usually rooted in failed institutions of basic governance and rule of law. This is where Canada, with its commitment to pluralism and human rights, can make a unique contribution.
That is why the Government is establishing the Canada Corps. Its mandate is first, to put our idealism to work by helping young Canadians bring their enthusiasm and energy to the world; second, to bring our skills and ideas to bear by ensuring that experts of all ages and backgrounds-for example, in governance, health, economics, human rights-can get to the places in the world that need them; and third, to coordinate the efforts of government and to work with civil society. The Canada Corps will bring the best of Canadian values and experience to the world.
For all that we as Canadians want to achieve, and for all that we want for others, we also need international institutions that work. Dealing with complex issues like the “responsibility to protect” and managing the global commons will require leadership from all continents-from North and South. For that reason, the Government will work to bring about a meeting of G20 leaders to address common and pressing concerns, such as how to improve public health systems, combat terrorism and reform our multilateral institutions…”
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