Bill C-447 an opportunity to promote peace

What does it mean for us to pursue the blessings of Christ’s beatitude ("blessed are the peacemakers..")  in 21st-century Canada?

One exciting answer to this question comes to us from an unusual source: Bill C-447, a private member’s bill introduced by British Columbia MP Bill Siksay in 2009.

Bill C-447 seeks to establish a Department of Peace with its own minister at the federal level. For now, the specific details of this bill are of less concern than the paradigm shift that the bill proposes, and the potential that our government could take an active role in promoting and fostering conditions for peace domestically as well as internationally.

More surprising than having politicians advocate an initiative for peace is that a piece of legislation that comes so close to the heart of peacebuilders has not created a greater interest. Are we afraid of the hard work that will be required to produce a fundamental shift in our society, the apathy or the strong interest groups that will resist our call for peace?

If we want to be the followers of the Prince of Peace, we must be prepared to follow an example that led to Calvary. We must talk about peacemaking not just in church, but at the dinner table; not just with each other, but with our neighbours.

We must prepare for the future by writing to our local newspapers and respective MPs to explain the importance of Bill C-447 from our unique perspective. We may experience their apathy or downright hostility, but none of this should deter us because too much hangs in the balance. Given the example we claim to live by, it’s the least we can do.

This is a summary of a longer letter by Gerhard Neufeld, of Winnipeg, Man. The letter was originally published in the Jan. 24, 2010 edition of the Canadian Mennonite.