The first ever Legislative Bill for a Department of Peace in the Canadian Parliament was tabled on Sept. 30 in the Parliament as a Private Members Bill.

The proposed Department in the Bill is along the lines of a Model legislative Bill proposed by the Canadian Department of Peace Initiative(CDPI) . Since 2004, CDPI has been promoting a strategic focus for sustainable peace within the Federal Government, working towards a Culture of Peace at home and abroad and through its Minister provide the Prime Minister with advise and recommendations on effective conflict transformation through nonviolent means.

The Bill advocates through the creation of a Civilian Peace Service a specialized cadre of peace professionals, a new form of capacity building trained in prevention, mediation, and reconciliation at cutting edge of problems, instead of current sole reliance on “suits” and “boots”. Diplomats and Soldiers are not generally trained to work on dealing with the problems of root causes of conflicts at the ground level. Additional elements of the Bill seek within this Department a special profile on important issues such as Nuclear Disarmament, Human and Economic Rights, Peace Education and Prevention of Violence in Canada.

CDPI is a part of the world wide movement of Global Alliance of Departments/Ministries for Peace with civil society representation from 40 countries. Its fourth Summit was held this month in San Jose, Costa Rica where President Arias announced the establishment of a Ministry for Justice and Peace making Costa Rica the third country with a Peace Department. Nepal and Solomon Islands are other two countries with Ministries for Peace. This is a tremendous progress for the Global movement in having convinced in five years the governments in three countries the usefulness of a Peace Ministry in the government.

We see the Canadian Private Members Bill as an important initiative that will revitalize Canada’s role as a global peacebuilder.