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The Three Pillars

Thank you for participating in the Dialogue on Foreign Policy. The interactive web site is now closed. The Minister's report will appear on this web site once it is released.

This Forum is bilingual, and participants post messages in their language of choice.

The irrelevancy of the three pillars

Contributor: ninja

Date: 2003-02-07 21:31:13

The question of the irrelevancy should be at the core of any attempt to
review our foreign policy. The first is concerned with the protection of
Canada's security within a stable global framework. DFAIT has neither the
resource nor the mandate to do so. Canada's security is assured by the
security community (local, provincial and federal police, CSIS, CSE, PCO).
DFAIT contributes to the emancipation of world citizens by promoting and
implementing human-rights oriented programs (land-mines treaty, ICJ,
aboriginal rights, etc..) with its partners from the NGOs community and the
civil society. DFAIT is thus not the only actor but a mediator providing
security. The first pillar (and a pillar adopted by CIDA as well) should be:
The contribution to the emancipation of world citizens.

The second: promotion of prosperity and employment. For whom? Do Canadians
benefit by the attraction of foreign investment in Canadian firms? Yes. The
impact on the remaining billions of the world citizens could be seriously
questioned. The events of 9/11 have been a wake up call to many Canadians
and ami(e)s Qubcois, who have begun to question and speak out against the
increasing gap between the consumption patterns of North America and by the
unbelievable reality that 1 fifth of the world inhabitants, especially
children, are malnourished and fight everyday for survival.

The second pillar should be (and here again adopted in the future Red Book
III): the promotion of globalization with a human face: which results in the
increased utilization of immigration laws, the encouragement of good
governance in fragile countries and the recognition that a unprecedented
amount of Canadians, especially our youth, are passionately committed to the
promotion of human equity and sustainable international development. The
prosperity at home is conditional to the world countries growth.

Finally the third pillar: the promotion of values and culture that Canadians
cherish. I like this one: except DFAIT should hold much more consultation
(and not just with experts) through its Policy planning division on what
Canadians like about their culture and values and what can it bring to other

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The irrelevancy of the three pillars

Contributor: YvonLattrapé

Date: 2003-02-12 00:04:55

I strongly, but respectfully and passionately, disagree with your opinion. I think the 3 pillars are more relevant than ever. And we need to keep all of them reunited in a coherent foreign policy. And the 3rd pillar is the most important of all, because it concerns values, and among these values, Love is the most important of all. Anywhere we are on the globe, we Canadians must promote Universal Love.

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The irrelevancy of the three pillars

Contributor: Fleabag

Date: 2003-02-12 19:23:10

I agree with you both. The 'Three Pillars' have become irrelevant, but not unimportant. Greed, consumerism and self-gratification as espoused by the US as the greatest good, have 'morally castrated' the notions of common good and decency.

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The irrelevancy of the three pillars

Contributor: pepe

Date: 2003-02-13 22:21:49

RE: Pillar #3: I have to disagree here. Cultural promotion should be the domaine of the department of Canadian Heritage, and quite frankly if we are so insecure as to have such a department in the first place well... that begs another question about the re-org of government overall.

Therefore, I'd suggest DFAIT needs only 2 pillars: 1. Foreign Policy/Aid focused on limited priorities where Canada can make a difference. This is critical in a post 9/11 world and I would hope that Minister Graham looks very closely at where Canada can play a role and where we cannot in contex of overall strategic priorities of the government of Canada. Focus on where we can make a difference (i.e. Aid, ICJ, etc.) and drop the areas where we won't (i.e. cutural promotion?!?)

2. Promotion of globalization. In fact this should probably be the most important pillar of foreign policy as whether you are for or against globalization this a reality in the 21st century. I would argue that in fact having a larger global middle-class and the promotion of fair trade (read rules based where the WTO has accountability to ensure that the US and EU actually follow the rules) is probably the first step towards solving many of the problems that currently exist in the world. When citizens have a stake in the economy and prosperity, this allows for the fostering of stronger democracies and growth. In other words economic policy should be at the centre of foreign policy and not vice-versa.

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The irrelevancy of the three pillars

Contributor: cell

Date: 2003-02-18 16:58:40

Thrre pillars will not hold up a conventional house, not one on my street
or on any street in the western world. I wonder what kind of foreign
policy a nation that models itself on a crumbling Grecian ruin rather than
a strong structure like the Lincoln Memorial can hope to gain any
credence whatsoever on the world stage.
To address these paultry pillars individually would give them credence.
Suffice it to say that structures built of three evoke the idea of pyramids.
This model does not even hold the strength of these structures built to embalb
the dead which had four sides. What kind of blind government could
not have seen the fragility of using a design construct that houses
but memories of long lost eras and democracy destroyed by tyrants, and
Caesars. Using three pillars as a model for Canadian Foreign Policy is
akin to modelling our economic policy on a structure of one plate.

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