Canadians approach the year 2016 in a jubilant mood. buoyed up by the new Trudeau government’s promising changes of policy. Canadian planes will stop bombing Syria. Scientists can now talk to journalists. There will be an inquiry into the murder of missing aboriginal women. In Paris, Canada has contributed to the first genuine breakthrough in controlling climate change. Planeloads of Syrian refugees have begun arriving and are greeted warmly and generously. This holiday season, we have much to celebrate.
And—thank goodness—we still have enough urgent challenges to fill our lives with fun and meaningful joint projects. We must always give thanks for our excellent problems, for there is no greater blessing than the possession of an array of superbly consequential issues and a chance to choose among them. Which ones will you pick for 2016?
Peace Magazine and our closest friends will especially address two urgent, yet chronic, problems: the continuing threat of nuclear calamity, and the necessity of providing international solutions to the human suffering caused by failures of national governance.
People still haven’t realized that nuclear weapons pose far more risk than the benefits they offer with their potential for mutual deterrence. Yet here, too, there is new basis for hope. The Marshall Islands have received the Right Livelihood Award (surely a good sign); most countries have taken the “humanitarian pledge”; and the UN has created a new working group to begin outlawing the weapons. Our challenge in 2016 is to show the new, open-minded Canadian government how they too can advance this effort. Make an appointment to visit your MP!
At the same time, we continue to confront the flow of refugees whose bodies and relationships have been injured by wars and misguided economic policies. The world needs more democracy, and the existing democracies—including Canada!—need to improve their methods. At a minimum, we should set an example for the citizens of Islamic states and formerly communist states who cannot envision effective governance that includes freedom and justice.
There is great work yet to be done. Let’s put our hearts and souls into the job. Happy New Year, Canada!