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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.

Rule of law

Contributor: bobolsen2

Date: 2003-04-30 16:56:49

1. Which values and interests should bear most fundamentally on Canada's foreign policy? How can Canada's foreign policy better reflect the concerns and priorities of Canadians?

Canada's foreign policy must be based on the rule of law.
Canada's foreign policy must be based on the rule of law.
Canada's foreign policy must be based on the rule of law.

I wrote to my M.P., Bill Graham, Minister of Foreign Affairs,
and asked him "Is the invasion of Iraq illegal?" Like other
constituents, I did not receive a reply.

So I went to his "Town Hall" meeting at Ryerson University, here in
the riding of Toronto-Centre/Rosedale on April 25, 2003. I suggested
that "Canada's foreign policy should be based on the rule of law."
I then asked Mr. Graham "Is the invasion of Iraq illegal?"
Mr. Graham did not answer the question, even when it was put
to him repeatedly by various constituents.

As I was leaving, I met Mr. Graham on the street and he told me that
"International law is not as simple as national law." He advised
me to post my concerns on http://www.foreign-policy-dialogue.ca
So, here I am.

Lloyd Axworthy, Canada's former Minister of Foreign Affairs, said:
"... generations of Canadian governments (pursued) a foreign policy
based on the belief that a predictable rule of law, and not the
arbitrary rule of men, is the best way of ensuring both national
and global security." http://www.globeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20030429.waxwo28/BNStory/Front/

The U.N. Charter says: "All members shall refrain ... from the threat
or use of force against the territorial integrity or political
independence of any state." I, and other Canadians, are still
waiting for Mr. Graham's response to our question: "Is the invasion
of Iraq illegal?"

Our foreign policy can be based either on the rule of law,
or, on the wishes of the emperor.

Bob Olsen, Toronto, <bobolsen@mycybernet.net>

see: http://www.un.org/aboutun/charter/chapter1.htm

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Rule of law

Contributor: codc01

Date: 2003-05-01 06:02:36

We've been discussing this, in this forum for over a month now, and as Mr. Graham said its a very complex issue. I am also for the rule of law, and I'm sure Mr. Graham is also of this opinion, but he cannot say the invasion of Iraq was illegal publicly, because in diplomatic ways, this would be a direct attack on our major partner to the south (the US). Diplomacy is something very difficult to grasp, and only experts understand how it works (in my opinion).

Furthermore, even though i agree entirely with you on the rule of law (Only self-defence is allowed under the UN charter, or in special cases under the Uniting for Peace resolution of the general assembly, or if voted by the security council...), some people have other opinion.

The problem here is that several people (in this forum at least), and in other places, independently of any propaganda, are saying that liberty and democracy of people have higher priority than the rule of international law. So for them, it is possible to invade a country under dictatorship to free the people. This is where i disagree with these people, for me its not up to another country to intervene directly in the affairs of any country, if people of a country want freedom, it is up to them to do it (with maybe some *indirect* help of other countries).

Maybe you will never read this (the dialog stops today), but i just wanted to let you know what we discussed about here.

[The Dialogue stops at 12 midnight Pacific Daylight Time, so 3 am EDT - The comments will remain up for some time as an archive. The Minister will report on the Dialogue and his report will be posted on this web site. - Thanks The moderators.]

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Rule of law

Contributor: Barretm82

Date: 2003-05-01 18:33:11

bobolsen2, a great many have been discussing this here for some time now. You missed the boat, with that said.

As far as law is concerned, the question is? Do you follow the charter of rights and freedoms for all Canadians? Or is the charter only for the privileged people of Canada?

Are you suggesting that we follow the laws of N. Korea? OR Saddam's Iraq laws?

As for the U.N., The U.N. did not vote to condemn (create a law) against the military action, so there is no breaking of the law. Therefore it is legal. That should answer your question.

(Yes, cocd01 I am aware for your points, but this guy (bobolsen2) missed the boat on those discussions).

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Rule of law

Contributor: Barretm82

Date: 2003-05-01 20:04:55

bobolsen2 Says …”Canada's foreign policy must be based on the rule of law.”…

Yes, Canadian law, I will explain…

…”The U.N. Charter says: "All members shall refrain ... from the threat
or use of force against the territorial integrity or political
independence of any state." I, and other Canadians, are still
waiting for Mr. Graham's response to our question: "Is the invasion
of Iraq illegal?"”…

“12 years, of broken U.N. laws and sanctions against Saddam?” If you repeatedly killed people in Canada you would suffer consequences. If Saddam lived in Canada he would have been lockup a long time ago. At what point does reality set in and we should revert to the rule of law of Canada, such as the Charter of Rights and Freedoms?

Here is a second point. The Canadian Charter of rights and freedoms is based in a democracy. The U.N. is not based in democracy; it only has some democracies in it, therefore it must never “super seed” Canadian laws particularly the Charter of rights and freedoms. If the United Nations was only based on democratic nations then its decrees may be deemed to be based on the basic principals of law of the people who vote and direct said laws.

If you don’t understand why law based on democracy is important, then let me toss this at you, “laws against murder for say, can only be effective in a setting were those breaking the laws are not the ones making the laws”. This is why I think many people see the U.N. as an answer, and it would be, if it wasn’t made up of people like Saddam and the U.N. actually enforced its own sanctions (Laws). You can’t have 12 years of sanctions and broken laws with no actions, eventually the police have to show up at the door and physically deal with the matter.

Furthermore note that it was illegal to speak against Saddam in Iraq, the penalty was death, Are you suggesting this law “super seeds” or is “equivalent” to Canadians laws because Saddam was a U.N. member? You see this Saddam's law holds no water because it is not based on a democratic ‘just’ system that is responsible to its people as a whole; it is responsible only to the dictator Saddam or Saddam’s law.

Here is a question, "If you are witnessing horrific crimes and do nothing about it; Under Canadian law can you be held accountable?"

For example, child abuse, say your spouse witnesses child abuse and doesn’t report it to police (who then physically interject) then your spouse can be charged for doing nothing to stop the abuse. "Is it fair to say that Canadians who witnessed horrible crimes in Iraq yet who choose to do nothing about it should be deemed guilty through apathy?"

Now, the Allies have legal right for a number of reasons;
• The 1991 war was not finished, Saddam did not disarm. We know what disarmament looks like, such as South Africa and Ukraine had WMD and destroyed them without U.S. conflict.
• No fly zones in place to protect the slaughter of innocent Iraqi’s were continually challenged.
• The continue ineffectiveness of the U.N. to enforce its own laws
• One can not deny that if Saddam was in any democracy he would be put in prison for his actions.
• Defense of the American people
• And the list goes on and on….

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Rule of law

Contributor: fatmomma

Date: 2003-05-01 21:44:34

I have to see if I can get the last word in Barrett
! Iraq was disarmed; show me the illegal weapons
2 Not that I heard of; in fact there is question of the legality of the no fly zones
3 The UN has not been given that power; it has been unable to enforce its llaws because of the games of the permanent 5 including the USA
4. Saddam was not in a democracy so irrelevant; that is up to Iraqis
5. Iraq was not a threat to the USA
no weapons and no threats uttered

Plus I will add that Israel has defied the UN resolutions with no repercussions due to the protection of the USA; Israel has a large human rights violation file .
The USA invaded Iraq due to failure of Iraq to destroy WMD; Maybe Saddam spoke the truth?
The call to "liberate Iraqis" only came after the decision to invade.

I do hope for the best in our future; I will be quite relieved if you are proven right and that I am wrong.
bye Barrett

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Rule of law

Contributor: Barretm82

Date: 2003-05-01 23:33:35


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Rules are made to be changed

Contributor: Vox

Date: 2003-05-02 01:31:53

Rules only work when their conditions of application remain valid and constant. They are made to guide us, not to constrain us.

Scientists know that theories and even the laws of nature should be open to constant challenge. Is human nature really more predictable than the "natural sciences"?

IMO, rules sometimes encourage the lazy of mind and those who prefer not to see or touch the messy side of life. The specific "rule of law" you refer to had only been barely working for many years. It was tolerated arguably because to renounce it would have been more disruptive than to tolerate its shortfalls. September 11 finally broke it completely.

I think the best way to find our way through current global challenges is to think anew and to adapt - not to put on blinders and pretend the system is not broken. A weakness of democracies is their preference for comfort. We have a tendency to anesthetize ourselves from all tribulations of life.

Focus on the issues not on the false sense of security from a pretentious set of rules.

Vox Canadiana

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