Peace talks celebrate solstice at Shatford Centre

Peace on earth is one of the holiday tenants, and it is the subject of Solstice Peace Talks at the Shatford Centre Dec. 21.

The holidays are a time of peace and togetherness, with winter solstice rituals throughout many cultures interconnecting us all.

It was from the Penhenge winter solstice gatherings that the idea for Solstice Peace Talks at the Shatford Centre came to be.

Randy Janzen, instructor in the peace and justice studies program at Selkirk College, is taking on the topic of Canadian foreign policy and the lack of criticism.

“(My talk) is basically going to look at all the evidence and make the argument that, for some reason, Canadians are, as a whole, completely uncritical of our government’s foreign policy,” Janzen said. “We are reaching a critical juncture because of climate change and the potential for our weaponry to mass destroy human populations.”

He hopes the exploration of non-violent peacekeeping alternatives are going to play a bigger role in foreign policy.

He added that research and evidence point to practical solutions like unarmed civilian peacekeeping.

“There is a complete absence, if you look in the mainstream media, on Canada’s foreign policy. We can criticize almost everything, but for some reason the military and those sacred institutions, critical analysis of those and of our defence policies really is absent in our discussions,” Janzen said.

Janzen pointed to one of Canada’s recent military deployments in Libya in 2011 along with NATO allies.

“We went there under the guise of protecting civilians and saving lives, which are notable and good reasons to go somewhere to help another country. However, even though our Canadian government deemed it was a success, that was kind of the official line, anyone who has any analysis of Libya now will say the mission was a complete failure,” Janzen said.

Ridding the country of one bad guy with guns has only led to the replacement by other bad guys with guns, Janzen summarized.

“The country is a failed state now and on the brink of civil war. It seems like what we do as Canadians is we either do nothing, or we go in with the military. I think the Canadian public realizes often those two choices are limited and not very useful, but no one seems to be putting forth a pragmatic third alternative,” Janzen said.

Janzen said Canada needs to reclaim its international identity as a peacekeeping nation, while updating what exactly it means to be peacekeepers.

“(Peacekeeping) is a military operation. We need to demilitarize it for the sake of breaking the cycle of violence,” Janzen said.

The interdisciplinary, social science program at Selkirk College is one of many around the world which are increasing in popularity Janzen said.

“The basic premise of peace and justice studies is that as human beings conflict will always be with us. It would be impossible to try and find a utopia without conflict, but the premise is to study and research ways to deal with conflict that are non-violent, that reduce harm, that will nurture relationships, restore relationships” Janzen said.

Speakers come to the Shatford Centre Dec. 21, with a suggested donation of $10 per person and $20 per family.

 

 

Just Posted

Six inducted into BC Hockey Hall of Fame in Penticton

The 26th ceremony welcomed powerful figures both on and off the ice

Peach Classic Triathlon

While Penticton contemplates changes in the long-distance triathlon community with Ironman returning… Continue reading

Armchair Book Club: Delving into the threat of big tech

Heather Allen is a book reviewer for Black Press that lives in the Okanagan

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: Showers to start weekend, sun returning soon

Environment Canada forecasts rain on Saturday and the heat returning next week

UPDATE: Penticton resident’s dog found safe

Nicholas Bozak thanks the public for finding his 17 month old mastiff chow

July showers wash out half of the Okanagan’s cherry crop

Cherry growers say this is the worst season they’ve seen in decades

Hespeler had connection to Mennonite migration

Home in Summerland was built in 1907, moved when the highway was changed

Canadian high school science courses behind on climate change, says UBC study

Researchers found performance on key areas varies by province and territory

COLUMN: Looking back to a time of optimism

The first lunar landing 50 years ago was a time to celebrate dreams and accomplishments

RCMP investigate two shootings in the Lower Mainland

Incidents happened in Surrey, with a victim being treated at Langley Memorial Hospital

CRA program to help poor file taxes yields noticeable bump in people helped

Extra money allows volunteer-driven clinics to operate year-round

Okanagan e-scooter company foils robberies

OGO Scooters staff helped return stolen property three times in 1st week of operations in Kelowna

Olympian brings women empowerment in sports to the Okanagan

Two-time medalist Natalie Spooner joined the Girls Rock the Rink event in Kelowna

Most Read