A federal election has been called for September 20. This kit by Canadian Friends Service Committee—the national peace and social justice agency of Quakers in Canada—is here to help you ask candidates informed questions about the issues we work on. You can read the kit below, or download it in PDF to make it easier to print and share.
Canada’s 2017 defence policy Strong, Secure, Engaged promised a massive 73% increase in military spending, mostly to buy new fighter jets, warships, and armed drones. Critics point out that the actual price tag would be many times more than the defence policy’s figures.
The August report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change paints a stark picture about our beautiful world being in its last possible decade to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of the climate crisis.
As wildfires and droughts cause incredible havoc, Canada does not need new expensive military hardware that will emit more carbon while continuing to lock us into a failed vision of security. Fighter jets and armed drones will not keep Canadians safe. Security includes climate security. We need to invest in an urgent shift to a peaceful and green economy.
Arms Trade Treaty
Canada continues to be a major arms dealer. The UN has singled out Canada as helping to fuel the brutal Saudi-led war in Yemen.
An August 2021 report details how Canada is failing to live up to its legal obligations under the Arms Trade Treaty by continuing to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia.
Department of Peace
Canadians want Canada to be a peace leader on the international stage. In addition to the moral imperative to do so, the UN and World Bank provide a strong economic case for war prevention even benefitting countries not directly involved in wars.
Canada has no government body tasked with making violence prevention a top priority. The Canadian Peace Initiative seeks to establish a Cabinet-level Minister of Peace within the Government of Canada, and a federal Department of Peace. The Department would make Canada a leader in developing and implementing a coordinated and coherent approach to violence prevention and peacebuilding domestically and internationally.
See Vote Palestine, an elections resource endorsed by CFSC and put together by Canadian faith, human rights, and social justice groups working on Palestine/Israel issues: https://www.VotePalestine.ca
UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission called the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples the “framework for reconciliation.” The UN Declaration provides the necessary principles, norms, and standards for reconciliation to flourish in twenty-first-century Canada. In June we celebrated Royal Assent of Bill C-15, An Act Respecting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls
Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action
The police-reported crime rate in Canada decreased by 10% from 2019 to 2020 (according to Statistics Canada, July 2021). Canada spends more than 2.5 billion dollars on its federal prison system each year. This expense has increased while Canada’s crime rate has declined. Spending on prison security, courts, and policing diverts funds from more effective programs and services that address the root causes of crime and support healing and rehabilitation for offenders, victims, families, and communities.
Most people released from prison return to the community with few supports, and face a lack of housing, income, healthcare, and social services to help them with reintegration. This leads to an increased risk of re-offending and limits opportunities for promoting positive life changes and desistance from crime.
Children and youth
Canada has ratified and championed the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), including to protect and promote the best interests of the child. When we look at the impact on children whose parents are sent to prison, there is no indication that children are taken into consideration in our criminal justice system. This impacts more than 350,000 children in Canada each year. Often children enter child welfare because their parents are in prison, and this particularly affects Indigenous children.
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End notes Canadian Friends Service Committee, “Our Questions about Canada’s Defence Budget,” September 5, 2017, https://quakerservice.ca/news/our-questions-about-canadas-defence-budget  No Fighter Jets Coalition, From Acquisition to Disposal: Uncovering the true cost of 88 new fighter jets, 2021, downloaded from https://NoFighterJets.ca  See https://www.ipcc.ch  Steven Chase, “Canada is Fuelling War in Yemen with Arms Sales, UN Report Says,” The Globe and Mail, September 9, 2020, https://www.theglobeandmail.com/politics/article-un-experts-report-on-yemen-war-names-canada-as-one-of-arms-suppliers  Steven Chase, “Canada Flouting International Law by Continuing Saudi Arms Sales, Report Says,” The Globe and Mail, August 11, 2021, https://www.theglobeandmail.com/politics/article-canada-flouting-international-law-by-continuing-saudi-arms-sales-new  World Bank Group and United Nations, “Pathways to Peace: Inclusive Approaches to Preventing Violent Conflict,” 2018, https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/28337  See https://CanadianPeaceInitiative.ca  For more about the significance of this legislation see joint statements by the Coalition for the Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples at https://DeclarationCoalition.ca  See our report Breaking the Silence: Dialogue on Children of Incarcerated Parents and our submission to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child regarding the children of incarcerated parents in Canada.