Is Canada at war?

Canadian Forces are currently deployed in combat overseas. But is Canada at war? The fact that the question is debatable shows that warfare as we traditionally knew it has somehow changed.

For the past decade, the nature of contemporary conflict has been under increasing discussion. To explore this issue, the York Centre for International and Security Studies (YCISS), in collaboration with the Department of Political Science, McMaster University, is holding a workshop entitled "Developing Security?" This one-day workshop, which is open to the York community, will take place at McMaster tomorrow.

Right: YCISS director Robert Latham, a workshop panelist

The starting premise of the event is that with the Cold War over, we have entered the “New Wars” era. In part, this era is characterized by the merger of development and security practices, a thesis that has been put forward by Professor of Development Mark Duffield, of Leeds University in the UK, in his book Global Governance and the New Wars.

Duffield points out that in recent conflicts in Africa, the Balkans and Central Asia, aid agencies – both government-sponsored and private –have participated in the wars through their activities in humanitarian assistance, conflict resolution and the social-reconstruction of war-torn areas.

The Developing Security workshp will address the political, economic and security implications of this security-development merger and examine other characteristics of current conflicts in three sessions: “New Wars?”, “‘Responsibility’ to Protect?” and at “The End of Military Fordism?”. Each of the three moderated sessions will feature three panelists.

The nine panelists include representatives of York and McMaster: Colleen Bell and Ryerson Christie of YCISS; YCISS director Robert Latham; McMaster MA candidate Matt Gravelle, of the Institute on Globalization and the Human Condition; and Mark Busser, PhD candidate in McMaster’s Department of Political Science.

The Canadian Forces will be represented by Prof. Pierre Pahlavi of the Department of Military Planning and Operations of the Canadian Forces College. International perspectives will be offered by Prof. Neil Cooper, lecturer in international relations and security, Department of Peace Studies, University of Bradford in the UK, and Prof. Andrew Latham, associate dean of the Center for Global Leadership at Macalester College in Minnesota .

The one-day workshop is presented by the SDF-Net (Security and Defence Forum-Network). The SDF-Net is an initiative within YCISS that aims to strengthen the southern Ontario community of researchers whose interests encompass aspects of international security, Canadian foreign and defence policy, and related issues.

Click on these YCISS links for more information on the workshop agenda and a registration form