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84.05 A New Security And Arms Control Centre For Canada

In the Speech from the Throne opening the 32nd Parliament of Canada, 7th December, 1983 was included the following announcement:

…the Government will create a publicly funded centre to gather, collate and digest the enormous volume of information now available on defence and arms control issues. Fresh ideas and new proposals, regardless of source, will be studied and promoted”.

It turned out, subsequently, that the writers of this speech were not aware of the new non-government arms control institute (in Ottawa) which had only months previously been formed (Director: John Lamb), and furthermore neither they nor the members of Prime Minister Trudeau’s special Taskforce on the recent peace initiative had clear ideas about how the new Centre would be set up, nor what it should do.

Subsequently, Mr. Geoffrey Pearson, of the Department of External Affairs, has been gathering opinion from prominent members of the peace movement, from a wide range of scholars, scientists, strategists, etc., on these very questions.

As of 11th January, 1984 the new Centre was envisaged as having several roles: funding, “networking”, “seminaring”, etc. It would be focussed primarily on present and future E-W relations. It would produce a newsletter and/or a journal; it would collect data, have some role in the advocacy of policy, and it would have a role in international liaison.

The Prime Minister’s Taskforce would like to have your views on what roles this Centre should fulfil, what it should be called and how it should be oset up. There is urgency to move forward with this work, since it rides, in a sense, on the momentum of the peace initiative, and the accumulation of ideas is going to gel within a few weeks. You can write to Mr. Pearson at the Department of External Affairs, Sussex Drive, Ottawa KlA 0G2. (DP)

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