By STEPHEN HANDELMAN
FOREIGN AFFAIRS WRITER
UNITED NATIONS - Canada will establish a "centre for peacekeeping research and training to serve as a discussion forum on future directions of the U.N., Foreign Affairs Minister André Ouellet announced yesterday.
The centre, to be located at the former military base in Cornwallis, N.S., will be named after former prime minister Lester Pearson.
The Cornwallis base was one of several to be closed - a body-blow to the local economy - as a result of "peace dividend" military budget cuts announced in February by Defence Minister David Collenette.
Since 1992, when they were the opposition, the party has called for establishment of a peacekeeper training centre at CFB Cornwallis.
Several countries have already expressed their frustration with the U.N.'s structure this week, but Canada was the first nation to table a coherent plan for U.N. reform.
"We do not say that everything must be changed," Ouellet told the Genenal Assembly, noting that reform already in place, such as the creation of a U.N. inspector-genenal to oversee finances, represented steps in the right direction.
But he said Canada's historic post-World War II role as an architect of U.N. peacekeeping gives it a special interest in ensuring the organization continues to fulfil the expectations of its founders.
Ouellet's other proposal included:
- Improving the U.N.'s capacity for waging "preventive diplomacy" through the early use of economic and humanitarian aid to regions on the brink of civil conflict.
- Overhauling the organization's jumble of economic and social agencies that often duplicate each other's activities.
- Streamlining the decision-making process in key U.N. bodies such as the Security Council.
- Reforming the archaic system of dues and assessments under which member states pay for U.N. peacekeeping and other activities.
At a news conference after his speech, he said the establishment of a rapid-deployment force is one of the keys to improving the management of international crises.
"We need a force able to react quickly if necessary," he sed. Nevertheless, he refused to spell out how Canada will contribute to such a force, saying he wants to wait for the results of the study.
Aides said the review, which would involve foreign as well as Canadian experts, will be sent to all U.N. member states before next year's General Assembly session.
Toronto Star (30 September 1994). George Orwell taught us how to read the 'double speak' of the New World Order: 'peace' equals 'war'.