Monday, June 26, 2017

#Canada150 and #nuclearban: A World Turned Upside-Down

Expo 67 - Canada Pavilion
#Canada150 and #nuclearban: A World Turned Upside-Down
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I have written before about how formative a few short days I once spent in Canada turned out to be for my life. Back then, I went around the world in 5 days as we went from pavilion to pavilion. During the first decades of my working career, I traveled to every country I could get to in the course of my work in import/export.  And today I'm connecting to a peace movement that is truly global. (See: O Canada! (We'll always have "Expo" . . . . ).)

A big focus of Expo 67 was "Man and his World." It was a moment when people were very much aware of how the human species had come to dominate the planet -- and each other -- and there were the beginnings of a call for balance.

The 50th anniversary of Expo 67 is this year. I've been enjoying reading about the many related exhibits and commemorations, and the memories come flooding back. (See "Expo 2017: Utopia, Rebooted" in The New York Times, by Jason Farago.) I was delighted to hear my daughter say she's hoping to drive up to Montreal this summer.

By the way, I've always particularly loved the inverted pyramid design of the Canada Pavilion from Expo 67 -- although until I sat down to write this piece today, I wasn't quite sure what I thought it meant . . . .

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This year is also the 150th anniversary of the beginning of Canada's process of becoming an independent country. As I read more about Canada's  progression from possession of the British Empire to member of the community of nations, I realize that it's been a long road.

Coincidentally, I have just come to realize that there is a very large group of countries that continue to exist in a kind of vague relation to the UK and each other through the Commonwealth of Nations. This hit home when I realized that practically the entire Commonwealth -- in this year when it has adopted the slogan "A Peacebuilding Commonwealth" -- consists of countries that are supporters of the global nuclear weapons ban negotiations at the United Nations. (See The Road to the Commonwealth Games Passes Through #Nuclearban Territory.)

The UK opposes the nuclear ban treaty talks, however, as do Australia and Canada. Is Australia's opposition because of the UK position? Is Canada's?  I wonder why these two countries, almost alone among Commonwealth countries, fail to support the nuclear ban.

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Canada's posture is influenced by more than just the UK, of course. It also has something to do with the United States.

The US opposes the nuclear ban talks, and has dragged its main allies along with it. (See USA: Bringing a Trumpian Posture to the Nuclear Ban Talks. (Bankruptcy.).)

There is very public discussion right now about Canada and whether it will follow the line set down by the US -- particularly by Donald Trump.  There was a very intriguing story by Max Fisher several days ago saying that the Trudeau government is not standing still for the Trump stonewall against action on climate: "Canada’s Trump Strategy: Go Around Him".

Could the same thing happen with respect to the nuclear ban?  Ian Austen, in "Canadian Minister Signals a Growing Role Outside the US Umbrella," quoted Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland saying, "To rely solely on the US security umbrella would make us a client state."

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It was those words -- "client state" -- that suggested to me what the inverted pyramid may be all about.

The long road signified by #Canada150 (as well as Expo 67) is all about a world turned upside-down, where the rules are no longer dictated by this or that mighty empire, but instead are formulated by people who have the interests of the majority at heart.

Canada beholden to the UK? Canada beholden to the US? Or Canada serving its people, and all people, and Canada's fundamental values?

Please, please, please, Canada: don't stop now. Turn the world really upside-down and join the treaty for a world free of nuclear weapons - #nuclearban.

It's where your heart lies.

Expo 67 artwork

Related post: "At the surrender of the British to the American forces at Yorktown, the band played an old tune called "The World Turned Upside Down." See The World Turned Upside Down - Huff Post, Wash Post, and Twitter.

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