Where Is Emma? Rethinking Security and State Sovereignty. (Where Is Canada?)

Canadian Speeches, November-December 2001 | Go to article overview

Where Is Emma? Rethinking Security and State Sovereignty. (Where Is Canada?)


The global Issue of the day is not the security and rights of nations, but of Individuals. In an increasingly interdependent world, the institutions and practices of states too often fail to protect the rights and security of people, whose lives have been violated or terminated on an unprecedented scale. The terrorist attacks of September 11 give added urgency to the task of completing, strengthening and expanding international measures to protect individual rights. The S. D Clark Lecture, University of Toronto, October 17, 2001.

Some might wonder why a de-frocked minister, ex-politician from the West is being given the honour of lecturing in a series dedicated to one of Canada's foremost academic leaders. I was just a little curious myself when the offer was first made. Then, I came across an article written in dedication to Professor Clark, entitled "Crushing the Power of Finance, the Socialist Prairie Roots Of S.D. Clark". And herein lies the link. The radical prairie roots are obvious. But "crushing finance," a little more hidden and obscure, until one remembers that for most of my career in government I was on the other end of that equation. I was the Crushee of the Department of Finance. Who better to come and pay homage to a man who had both the wisdom and the guts to advise that Finance, the department I'm speaking of, being crushed.

More important is the debt we all owe for his pioneering work explaining and analysing the distinctiveness of the Canadian reality that has been a source of ideas for generations of scholars and students. To quote from Professors Magill and Michelson: "He has given Canadians more knowledge of the world in which they live and how they might guide it more positively in the future." What could be a greater legacy than that, and better advice and inspiration to someone lecturing in his name? And, what admonition could be timelier, as we stand on a cusp of history with the earth shifting rapidly beneath our feet.

As I speak here tonight, Joining you in this exercise of dialogue we know that we are not alone in coming together to look for answers and seek some meaning in events of the past month. In countless arenas around the world, over thousands of kitchen tables, at the doorstep and the lectern, questions are being asked and solutions are being searched. Our First Nations have a name for it. It is called a healing circle, where after an event of grief or tragedy people come together to share their feelings and express their thoughts. This is now literally happening on a global scale. We are partners in this worldwide healing circle ,giving contemporary meaning to the example of Professor Clark, to gain knowledge of our world and seek from that knowledge the guidance for a more positive future. And where else is it more appropriate than in the setting of one of our great universities, the home of S.D. Clark and the place where more than anywhere reason and judgement should prevail.

So who is this Emma whose name appears in the title of this talk?...

Emma is a young, 1.3-year-old girl from the Gulu region of Uganda whom I met just over a year ago during an international conference on war-affected children held in my home city of Winnipeg. She had come all that way to tell her story, and for an hour or so in a room in the old Fort Garry hotel she told a harrowing tale of being abducted at the age of nine by a rebel group working out of the Sudan, turned into a sex slave by one of the warlords, giving birth to a child of her own at the age of eleven, seeking escape by becoming a warrior, and in turn ordered to kill her own family and members of her tribe.

Now, she resides in a refugee camp, infested by disease, in constant fear of further violation and kidnapping, surrounded by land mines that prohibit any return to her village or any chance to take up a normal life, and abandoned by authorities, forgotten and ignored by her government and certainly by the wider international community. …

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