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World Federalist Movement-Canada

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The World Federalist Movement — Canada (WFMC) is a member organization of the World Federalist Movement, a global citizens movement dedicated to promoting institutions of world governance. It has a national headquarters in Ottawa, and active branches in Vancouver, Victoria, and Montreal.

History Edit

Toronto lawyer and political icon Lewis Duncan lost his only child on a Dutch battlefield, a month before the end of the Second World War. In the wake of this loss, Duncan used his local connections to assemble a group of prominent individuals into a new public-service organization called the World Government Association, Dec. 1945. The group became associated with the larger movement as the philosophy of federalism began to gain traction globally.[1][2]

File:James Lewis Duncan (1892-1960).jpg

Toronto Edit

On Feb. 7, 1949, a new local executive was elected to replace the authority of Ducan and the other national directors. Other Canadian world federalist groups functioned independently, while supporting each other's efforts. Duncan continued to preside over the original organization into the late 1950s.[2]

The Toronto group changed their name first to the Toronto World Government Association, and then simply to Toronto World Federalists. They held eight public talks between 1949 and 1951. These included the topics: "World Government - Russian Plan? - or American Plan? - (or as we think) Federal Plan?", "Human Rights & World Government", "Does Canada Need a Bill of Rights?", "World Mental Health", and "The Future of the United Nations" among others. The group was involved in limited political advocacy, and a lack of travel funds strained their connection to the international movement.[2]

Ottawa Edit

With more of a political edge than their Toronto counterparts, the Ottawa world federalists took advantage of their location in the national capital. In 1949, the group was successful in drumming up support for world federalism from seven CCF Members of Parliament and two PCs, including leader John Bracken. In response to a speech by Prime Minister Mackenzie King, Bracken said "our path as Canadians is clear. Collective security for humanity is possible only in international collective agreement.[...]That price is the sacrifice of some degree of national sovereignty."[2][3] The Hon. Lester B. Pearson, Liberal Secretary of State for External Affairs, congratulated the Ottawa group "...on its work to extend and consolidate international cooperation..."[2]

Montreal Edit

Organized in February 1949 by Trudy Kassner, a linguist for the CBC, the Montreal world federalists attracted some weak members to start and the group folded by the spring of 1950. However, Kassner was able to organize a World Student Federalist group at McGill University and get a letter published in The Montreal Gazette. Eventually new interest emerged by January 1951 and the group was re-established.[2]

Saskatoon Edit

In April 1949, ten world federalists who had been meeting since Fall 1948 organized themselves into the Saskatoon World Government Association. It was modelled after the Toronto group, and was active in lobbying Saskatchewan Members of Parliament, and even interested Premier Tommy Douglas in world federalism. Douglas was inspired enough to make several speeches on the subject, advocating for an international court, police force and parliament. He also devoted one of his famous weekly fireside chats to the topic of world federalism. The Saskatoon world federalists spread their message by sending speakers throughout the province, and having a letter to the editor published in the Saskatoon Star Phoenix.[2]

Winnipeg Edit

After a Dec. 1949 talk by Toronto world federalist Charles Millard at the Winnipeg YMCA, 18 members of the YMCA Citizen's Forum Group and the Phoenix Club formed a world government group. Dr. Bernard G. Whitmore, associate professor at the University of Manitoba Department of Physics, was elected chairman of the Winnipeg World Government Association. The group was successful in holding several public meetings and debates, and received support from Liberal MP Ralph Maybank, CCF MP Alistair Stewart, and later PC MP Gordon Churchill.[2]

Other Places Edit

In Vancouver, Elmore Philpott worked with Lewis Duncan on his national initiatives, and even ran as an independent candidate in a provincial election, campaigning on a world government platform and achieving a close second place finish. Between 1949 and 1950, other coordinated world federalist activity went on in Halifax, Hamilton, and Norfolk County.[2][4]

Formation of the World Federalists of Canada Edit

While the Ottawa, Montreal, and Saskatoon groups called for a national meeting, the Toronto branch was reluctant to pursue a Canada-wide union after their bad experiences with the World Government Association under Duncan's leadership. The Toronto world federalists were committed in assisting the other Canadian groups, but it eventually fell to Winnipeg to organize them into what Whitmore proposed as a "...loose national organization...for the purpose of making joint pronouncements and representations if for nothing else."[2]

By March 1951, Toronto has softened and a news sheet called "Canadian World Government News" was ready for distribution among the groups. On February 5, 1951, Winnipeg discussed a draft national constitution at its first annual general meeting. And on July 28, 1951, Whitmore arranged a meeting of the different regional groups at the Ottawa YMCA. Representatives from Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal, and Winnipeg attended, with Saskatoon representing itself by correspondence. The assembly reviewed and adopted Winnipeg's draft constitution. The Toronto group had already applied for membership in the World Movement for World Federal Government and turned their application over to the new national association.[2]

Objectives Edit

In their constitution, the WFMC states it seeks a balance between the rights of nation-states and the collective rights and responsibilities of the global community. As per its programming, its main efforts are to establish a rule of law above state sovereignty. "These world institutions must have the legal and political authority to make and/or enforce international law in order to deal with those problems that can only be resolved effectively at the global level, while affirming the sovereignty of the nation-state in matters which are essentially internal," reads a portion of their national constitution's preamble.[5] It goes on to state the organization's particular attention to:

  • Promoting a consciousness of humanity as one community and of every person as a citizen of one world;
  • Ending the arms race and the elimination of all weapons of mass destruction;
  • Ending the use of military force save in the common interest to maintain peace and to prevent aggression;
  • Implementing the International Bill of Human Rights and establishing democratic world institutions;
  • Promoting international development to reduce world poverty, to provide an equitable distribution of global wealth and to *shape globalization positively;
  • Protecting our common environment and the preservation of the ecosystem for succeeding generations; and
  • Reforming the United Nations system to render it more democratic and effective in the pursuit of its mission and goals.[5]

Activity Edit

Peace and Security Edit

The WFMC advocates a much larger role for Canada in support of United Nations peace operations. The organization has been critical of Canada's declining contribution to UN peacekeepers, and releases biannual updates on this topic.[6] "UN peace operations provide unparalleled legitimacy to international efforts" said Walter Dorn in a WFMC statement to The Globe and Mail “That’s why Canadians, as shown in many polls, continue to support peacekeeping, even when Canada is at an all-time low in contributions of personnel.”[7] The WFMC also advocate for a United Nations Emergency Peace Service (UNEPS) to provide the UN with a permanent rapid reaction to conflict.[6]

WFMC monitors and supports the progressive development of the Responsibility to Protect normative framework and is a supporting member of the International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect (ICRtoP).[8] In 2012, the WFMC joined other civil society organizations to lobby for changes in Canada’s draft legislation to implement the Convention on Cluster Munitions.[6]

Global Governance Reforms Edit

The WFMC campaigns for the establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly.[9] They monitor and comment on the UN's Post-2015 Development Agenda. They suggest “one world goals," and an agenda that can be addressed in all countries.[10][11]

World Peace Award Edit

Year Recipient Notes
1972 Lester B. Pearson
1973 Norman Alcock
1973 Maurice Strong
1974 Hannah Newcombe
1974 Deganawida
1975 Hugh Keenleyside
1976 Paul Gerin-Lajoie
1977 George Ignatieff
1978 William Epstein
1979 Cyrus & Alice Eaton
1981 John Humphrey
1983 Douglas Roche
1984 Gwynne Dyer
1985 Lois Wilson
1986 Robert Muller
1987 Veterans Against Nuclear Arms
1988 Rosalie Bertrell
1990 Warren Allmand
1991 Stephen Lewis
1993 Lewis MacKenzie
1994 Fred Knelman
1996 Jules Deschênes
2000 Louise Arbour
2001 Lloyd Axworthy
2002 Roméo Dallaire
2004 Philippe Kirsch
2006 Ernie Regehr
2008 Gerry Barr For contributions to international development cooperation and world peace[12]
2010 Flora MacDonald
2012 Erna Paris For her writing on sexual violence in conflict zones.[13]

See alsoEdit

References Edit

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