Posts Tagged ‘First Nations’

It is time to try something different.  Military forces can be seen as a study in cultural rigidity. In a military conference I attended this year, a session on encountering child soldiers, trauma, PTSD and moral injury, the response alluded to ”mental health briefings” as a solution to what may lead to depression or suicide. In a strong warrior culture with the suicide rates being what they are (20 per day in the US among military veterans) belies the effectiveness of briefings. “Killing is killing” and anyone doing so, for just cause or not, encounters a traumatic event. The only question is – will they then be traumatized? This is part of what I am trying to address as a peace professional in first nations work and in a current peace and reconciliation project in the Tamils and Sinhalese diaspora, who have severe trauma issues and a child soldier problem.

There is a saying regarding all this, “one cannot drink the word water”. One does not create strong soldiers by talking about push-ups. One needs to exercise and go running every day. The same can be said for mental or trauma resiliency. Briefings are insufficient without strong military life practices. This means adding or changing certain military service practices and their acceptance in military culture. This would take courage because such practices in some ways may run counterculture to a warrior ethos that is not well suited to real independent and critical thinking and living values that are necessary for wellbeing, such as compassion, inner peace and equanimity. A rebalancing of military culture that blends mental health and resiliency with military ethics certainly begins with serious thinking about “military meaning and purpose” in war and conflict. If the trauma issue is to be seriously addressed, military culture should evolve to include continuous practices of wellbeing, mindfulness, breath practices, presence, and meditation. Military culture must understand the nature of suffering and trauma from the perspective of impermanence and that there are alternatives to victimization and depression. Mental wellbeing and causing harm or violence have a fundamental incompatibility. This is a significant and maybe an impossible challenge in a military culture. Good luck to us, or the consequences will be just more suicides and trauma.

 

During elections voices are heard. Questions teach. Questions open doors to learning and discovery for both the one who asks and those to whom the question is directed. Ask your candidates when they come around, speak up at debates, send them an email or letter, put up a window poster. Be informed. Vote for honest politicians.

This is how I see the issues and questions. Use what you wish. Ask questions.

I have an interest in international foreign policy and peace. I believe we need a country and a government of honest ethical MPs that understand national wellbeing, namely:

  • Good honest governance (Ethical, respectful, and not corrupt)
  • Meets security needs (Domestic and for international peace and stability)
  • Meets social needs (Health, education, housing, human rights)
  • Meets economic needs (Jobs and livelihood) 

Governance questions:

  • Q. Foreign policy: Canada is an export nation and does not have the population or GDP to defend itself. (We depend on oceans, neighbors and alliances)   The security and prosperity of the world is the security and prosperity of Canada. Canada had a strong peacemaking tradition, now has a militant foreign policy with a military intervention predisposition   How best do you think we can contribute to international peace security and stability? What would you do?
  • Q. Canadian history shares in two Nobel peace prizes. Now Canada shockingly lost a security council seat, cannot be trusted to be impartial by the global community, and is more often than not is an outlier on international issues. Would you support a department of peace, as a precursor to military intervention and DND?
  • Q. The government has a Federal Accountability Act for elected members and a PSDPA Public disclosure protection ac for public servants, and yet suffers ethical lapses. Decorum in parliament and between parties in public is disgraceful. The people want honest government not bickering, insults and power obsessions.   Decorum can be seen as courtesy, compromise, collaboration and cooperation”. Canadians deserve no less. What are your views on this and how will you conduct yourself if elected?

Security questions:

  • Q. The true cost of war. In the Iraq Afghan wars. US 5,800 dead/51,000 wounded/ over a thousand suicides/20% PTSD. Canada 158 dead/1859 Wounded/28% PTSD/160 suicides serving members (2004-2014). What about veteran suicides? Why are only serving member suicides being reported? The causalities of this war are far from over. What would you do about this? About the truth and honoring and reporting PTSD and all suicide names as the true cost of this war?
  • Q. P5+1 and Iran nuclear agreement. Canada refuses to support the agreement and has adopted a wait and see approach, preferring to be on the sidelines. What would you propose Canada do?
  • Q. Civilized people talk. As a result of the p5+1 agreement, the UK recently reopened its embassy in Iran. Canada refuses to do so or relax sanctions. What would you to?
  • Q. Russia and the Ukraine. The Canadian response is to promote sanctions and a confrontative approach, and fuels risks of another version of the cold war. Who speaks for peace and diplomacy with Russia? How do you think Canada can best contribute to a peaceful resolution of this crisis other than confrontation and violent language?
  • Q. Electoral reform. We live with an electoral system where 30% to 40% of the vote can result in 100% of the power. How can we achieve a system where the country is governed by a true majority of people and representative of the demographics of Canada and our first nations? What are your views on this?

Social needs questions:

  • Q. Youth radicalization. At a series of interfaith meetings on this subject the message about youth was loud and clear – “pay attention to youth”. It became apparent that the problems of radicalization are not best solved by policing but by meaningful jobs, hope, a supportive family and community social environment, and the creation of a positive identity and future. What are your views?
  • Q. We are a nation of a rule of law. We expect Canadians to obey the law. We expect Canada to honor agreements and treaties. This includes treaties with our first nations. What are your views regarding FN treaties, their land and right to respecting their consent?
  • Q. We are a nation of growing ethnic and religious diversity. We have a government trafficking in the politics of fear regarding terrorism and risking creating undercurrents of intolerance.   Two terrorism fatalities in Canada in recent years pales in comparison with 172 gun homicides in 2012. Death by terrorism in Canada is less by far than most other risks of death by violence. What are your views on this?

Economic needs questions:

  • Q. As the price of oil falls, the consequences of becoming a petro economy is becoming apparent, namely, as we are in a current recession. What would you propose?
  • Q. Canadian aid and development policy in Africa has become highly connected with the interests of Canadian mining companies and protecting mineral and mining profits when prices rise. Some reports put well over twice as much wealth is extracted than our foreign aid given. This is hospitals, education, and much of the future of these countries taken by this industry.  What are your views on this?  Do you agree or disagree?

Good luck to us all.

FROM OUR FIRST NATIONS

May the seven grandfather teachings guide us in our work today …

We will honor the seven grandfather teachings. Each person is on a life’s journey and must find the balance that lies in living in harmony with all creation. 

  1. Wisdom:  To cherish knowledge is to know wisdom.
  2. Love:      To know love is to know peace.
  3. Respect:      To honor all creations is to have respect.
  4. Bravery:      Bravery is to face adversity with integrity.
  5. Honesty:      Honesty in facing a situation is to be honorable.
  6. Humility:  To know yourself as a sacred part of      creation.
  7. Truth:  Truth is to know all of these things. To      speak it. To live by it. 
  • To the benefit of all people, may we be strong and committed to these words today. 

FROM THE DIVERSITY OF OUR NATIONAL VALUES AND ETHICS  

May our shared values guide us in our work lives today. 

  1. May we put the values of honesty and integrity foremost in our conduct today
  2. May we put compassion and respect for others foremost in our relationships today.
  3. May we be committed to our responsibilities and strengthen the reputation of our good name.
  4. May our relationships with stakeholders be lawful, fair, courteous and free from conflict of interest.
  5. May we respect our obligations for social responsibility involving integrity in governance, environmental responsibility, economic sustainability and benefit to the society and the communities we live in.
  6. To the benefit of our livelihood, ourselves and our relationships, may we commit to these values today.  

FROM THE HUMANITARIAN VALUES AND ETHICS OF THE GLOBAL COMMUNITY  

May the wisdom of our highest values guide us in the work we do today. 

  1. May we commit to non-violence and the respect of the human rights and dignity of others.
  2. May we put aside our fixed views and seek to understand the needs and views of others.
  3. May we put the relief of suffering foremost in our decision making and agreements.
  4. May we put the reduction of conflict foremost in our decision making and agreements.
  5. May we put the avoidance of harming others foremost in our decision making and agreements.
  6. May we put the welfare of our grandchildren foremost in our decision making and agreements.
  7. May we not refuse to do the good that we can do.
  8. In the cause of peace, may we be resolute and committed to these words today.

 In peace

Paul Maillet