World Federalist Movement-Canada

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The World Federalist Movement – Canada
WFMC 2014 Logo
PredecessorWorld Government Association
FoundedJuly 28, 1951 (1951-07-28)
  • 323 Chapel St, Suite 110, Ottawa
Key people
Walter Dorn (President);
John Trent (Chair of Board);
Karen Hamilton (Executive Committee Chair);
Cameron Laing (National Treasurer);
Robin Collins (National Secretary);
Fergus Watt (Executive Director);
Simon Rosenblum;
Corey Levine;
Hon. Flora MacDonald (Past President);
Hon. Warren Allmand (Past President).

The World Federalist Movement — Canada (WFMC) is a member organization of the World Federalist Movement, a global citizens movement dedicated to promoting institutions of world governance. WFMC has a national headquarters in Ottawa, and active branches in Vancouver, Victoria, and Montreal. Since its founding in 1951, the WFMC and its predecessor organizations have been a strong advocate for the application of the principles of democratic federalism to world affairs. It advocates for the strengthening international bodies and democratizing existent global institutions.

The current National President of the Canadian section of the movement is scientist and conflict researcher Walter Dorn, who succeeded former Cabinet Minister Hon. Warren Allmand in August 2016. Other well known Canadians have also served as WFMC President, including Hon. Flora MacDonald, The Very Rev. Sen. Lois M. Wilson and Hon. Allan Blakeney.

As World Federalists, we view the world as one society embracing all of humanity in all its diversity. To this end, we call for urgent progress in developing those democratic world institutions which are essential to assure a peaceful, just, and ecologically sustainable world community.[1]

Current Activity[edit]

The organization's slogan is "Building a World Community." With a broad mandate, World Federalists undertake national and international programs that push for long-term goals in international relations and Canadian foreign policy.

United Nations Reform[edit]

On Sept. 13, 2013, the WFMC organized the release and publication of a booklet of essays by 18 former diplomats, cabinet ministers, and foreign affairs experts spoke out against Canada's diminishing relationship with the United Nations. Their views were published in an accompanying booklet of essays, compiled and published by the WFMC, titled: “The United Nations and Canada: What Canada has done and should be doing at the UN“.[2]

Peacekeeping and Security[edit]

The WFMC advocates a much larger role for Canada in support of United Nations peace operations, and releases biannual updates on this topic.[3]

"UN peace operations provide unparalleled legitimacy to international efforts" said Walter Dorn in a WFMC statement to The Globe and Mail “That’s why Canadians, as shown in many polls, continue to support peacekeeping, even when Canada is at an all-time low in contributions of personnel.”[4]

The WFMC also advocate for a United Nations Emergency Peace Service (UNEPS) to provide the UN with a permanent rapid reaction to conflict.[5]

In 2012, the WFMC joined other civil society organizations to lobby for changes in Canada’s draft legislation to implement the Convention on Cluster Munitions.[6]

Global Democratization[edit]

Modern communications and technological change and the end of the Cold War have contributed to a growing recognition of the need for strengthened democratic governance around the world. In addition to the need for greater democratic governance around the world's nations, World Federalists call for the democratization of global governance. One practical program supported by the World Federalists is the Campaign for the Establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly at the United Nations.[7]

The organization also closely monitors and comments on the UN's Post-2015 Development Agenda. They suggest “one world goals," and an agenda that can be addressed in all countries.[8][9]

Responsibility to Protect[edit]

WFMC monitors and supports the progressive development of the Responsibility to Protect normative framework and is a supporting member of the International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect (ICRtoP).[10] WFMC is also a member of NGO networks that correspond to the organization's international goals, including the Coalition for the International Criminal Court, the Canadian Council for International Cooperation, the Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons and the Climate Action Network - Canada.


In their constitution, the WFMC states it seeks a balance between the rights of nation-states and the collective rights and responsibilities of the global community. As per its programming, its main efforts are to establish a rule of law above state sovereignty. "These world institutions must have the legal and political authority to make and/or enforce international law in order to deal with those problems that can only be resolved effectively at the global level, while affirming the sovereignty of the nation-state in matters which are essentially internal," reads a portion of their national constitution's preamble.[1] It goes on to state the organization's particular attention to:

  • Promoting a consciousness of humanity as one community and of every person as a citizen of one world;
  • Ending the arms race and the elimination of all weapons of mass destruction;
  • Ending the use of military force save in the common interest to maintain peace and to prevent aggression;
  • Implementing the International Bill of Human Rights and establishing democratic world institutions;
  • Promoting international development to reduce world poverty, to provide an equitable distribution of global wealth and to *shape globalization positively;
  • Protecting our common environment and the preservation of the ecosystem for succeeding generations; and
  • Reforming the United Nations system to render it more democratic and effective in the pursuit of its mission and goals.[1]


The organization's history is rooted in the immediate post-war period, when it was recognized by many that the new United Nations was inadequately structured to fulfil its primary purpose -- the maintenance of international peace and security.

Decentralized Canadian Network[edit]

Toronto lawyer and political icon Lewis Duncan lost his only child on a Dutch battlefield, a month before the end of the Second World War. In the wake of this loss, Duncan used his local connections to assemble a group of prominent individuals into a new public-service organization called the World Government Association, Dec. 1945. The group became associated with the larger movement as the philosophy of federalism began to gain traction globally.[11][12]

With more of a political edge than their Toronto counterparts, the Ottawa world federalists took advantage of their location in the national capital. In 1949, the group was successful in drumming up support for world federalism from seven CCF Members of Parliament and two PCs, including leader John Bracken. In response to a speech by Prime Minister Mackenzie King, Bracken said "our path as Canadians is clear. Collective security for humanity is possible only in international collective agreement.[...]That price is the sacrifice of some degree of national sovereignty."[12][13] The Hon. Lester B. Pearson, Liberal Secretary of State for External Affairs, congratulated the Ottawa group "...on its work to extend and consolidate international cooperation..."[12]

In April 1949, ten world federalists who had been meeting since Fall 1948 organized themselves into the Saskatoon World Government Association. It was modelled after the Toronto group, and was active in lobbying Saskatchewan Members of Parliament, and even interested Premier Tommy Douglas in world federalism. Douglas was inspired enough to make several speeches on the subject, advocating for an international court, police force and parliament. He also devoted one of his famous weekly fireside chats to the topic of world federalism. The Saskatoon world federalists spread their message by sending speakers throughout the province, and having a letter to the editor published in the Saskatoon Star Phoenix.[12]

After a Dec. 1949 talk by Toronto world federalist Charles Millard at the Winnipeg YMCA, 18 members of the YMCA Citizen's Forum Group and the Phoenix Club formed a world government group. Dr. Bernard G. Whitmore, associate professor at the University of Manitoba Department of Physics, was elected chairman of the Winnipeg World Government Association. The group was successful in holding several public meetings and debates, and received support from Liberal MP Ralph Maybank, CCF MP Alistair Stewart, and later PC MP Gordon Churchill.[12]

In Vancouver, Elmore Philpott worked with Lewis Duncan on his national initiatives, and even ran as an independent candidate in a provincial election, campaigning on a world government platform and achieving a close second place finish. Between 1949 and 1950, other coordinated world federalist activity went on in Halifax, Hamilton, and Norfolk County.[12][14]

Formation of the World Federalists of Canada[edit]

While the Ottawa, Montreal, and Saskatoon groups called for a national meeting, the Toronto branch was reluctant to pursue a Canada-wide union after their bad experiences with the World Government Association under Duncan's leadership. The Toronto world federalists were committed in assisting the other Canadian groups, but it eventually fell to Winnipeg to organize them into what Whitmore proposed as a "...loose national organization...for the purpose of making joint pronouncements and representations if for nothing else."[12]

By March 1951, Toronto has softened and a news sheet called "Canadian World Government News" was ready for distribution among the groups. On February 5, 1951, Winnipeg discussed a draft national constitution at its first annual general meeting. And on July 28, 1951, Whitmore arranged a meeting of the different regional groups at the Ottawa YMCA. Representatives from Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal, and Winnipeg attended, with Saskatoon representing itself by correspondence. The assembly reviewed and adopted Winnipeg's draft constitution. The Toronto group had already applied for membership in the World Movement for World Federal Government and turned their application over to the new national association.[12]

World Peace Award[edit]

The idea to establish a peace award was introduced by Richard Plant in 1972. He wrote:

The stereotype of the military hero is outmoded today… We must, with due regard to our individual and collective security… construct a new model—that of the world peace hero… We feel that every day it becomes more imperative that we honour those among us who have the courage and the competence to lead us and our government so skillfully… We must honour those who show us how to help our neighbor nations around the world show us how to understand their problems and policies, so that we may all move forward harmoniously…[15]

Year Recipient Notes
1972 Lester B. Pearson
1973 Norman Alcock
1973 Maurice Strong
1974 Hannah Newcombe
1974 Deganawida
1975 Hugh Keenleyside
1976 Paul Gerin-Lajoie
1977 George Ignatieff
1978 William Epstein
1979 Cyrus & Alice Eaton
1981 John Humphrey
1983 Douglas Roche
1984 Gwynne Dyer
1985 Lois Wilson
1986 Robert Muller
1987 Veterans Against Nuclear Arms
1988 Rosalie Bertrell
1990 Warren Allmand
1991 Stephen Lewis
1993 Lewis MacKenzie
1994 Fred Knelman
1996 Jules Deschênes
2000 Louise Arbour In recognition of work for the International Criminal Court, human rights, and international justice.[16]
2001 Lloyd Axworthy As minister of foreign affairs and through his work on international issues, Lloyd Axworthy "has personally ‘moved the yardsticks’of change in the direction of world federalism and greater human security for us all."[17]
2002 Roméo Dallaire In recognition of his peacekeeping experience and study of children in conflict.[18]
2004 Philippe Kirsch For presiding over the Rome Statute negotiations and for his work as the ICC's first president [19]
2006 Ernie Regehr In recognition of his expertise and work on multilateral disarmament forums[20]
2008 Gerry Barr For contributions to international development cooperation and world peace[21]
2010 Flora MacDonald To honour "her commitment to international development, her willingness to speak out, in her unmistakable forthright manner, for human rights and international justice..."[22]
2012 Erna Paris For her writing on the International Criminal Court, human rights, sexual violence in conflict zones, and other subjects.[23]
2014 Alyn Ware As co-founder of a number of organizations, networks and initiatives to abolish nuclear weapons.[24]
2016 Murray Sinclair For his work as co-chair of Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission.[25]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "World Federalist Movement – Canada: National Constitution" (PDF). 2013-11-23.
  2. ^ Gwiazda, Wojtek (Sep 23, 2013). "Canadian foreign affairs experts condemn Canada's attitude towards United Nations". Radio Canada International. Radio Canada. Retrieved Sep 17, 2014.
  3. ^ "Canada and UN Peacekeepign Factsheet" (PDF). Ottawa: The World Federalist Movement - Canada. July 2015. Retrieved Sep 17, 2015.
  4. ^ Koring, Paul (June 7, 2012). "Blue helmets cast aside, Canada keeps the peace no more". The Globe and Mail. Toronto: Phillip Crawley.
  5. ^ "UNITED NATIONS EMERGENCY PEACE SERVICE (UNEPS)". Ottawa: The World Federalist Movement - Canada. Retrieved Sep 17, 2015.
  6. ^ "Peace and Security". World Federalist Movement – Canada.
  7. ^ "Global Democratization". World Federalist Movement – Canada.
  8. ^ Watt, Fergus (Sep 2013). "WFMC Member Profile September 2013" (Interview). Interviewed by Canada's Coalition to End Global Poverty. Ottawa.
  9. ^ "Global Governance Reforms". World Federalist Movement – Canada.
  10. ^ "Responsibility to Protect (R2P)". World Federalist Movement – Canada.
  11. ^ "World Federalists of Canada. Toronto Branch". Archeion. Archives Association of Ontario.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h Dilse, Paul (Oct 2001). The World Federalists of Canada: Their Contribution to Social Thought and Change (PDF). Toronto: Q-Print. pp. 1–17. ISBN 0-9689703-0-3.
  13. ^ Buckley, Brian (Sep 15, 2000). Canada's Early Nuclear Policy: Fate, Chance, and Character. McGill-Queen's Press. p. 51. ISBN 0-7735-2077-5.
  14. ^ Philpott, Elmore (1948-01-20). "Article by Russell Blow to World Govt". The Ottawa Citizen. Ottawa.
  15. ^ "World Peace Award". World Federalist Movement – Canada.
  16. ^ "Rocky road ahead for ICC?" (PDF). Ottawa: The World Federalist Movement - Canada. July 2000. Retrieved Sep 17, 2014.
  17. ^ "Freedom from fear is fundamental" (PDF). Ottawa: The World Federalist Movement - Canada. November 2001. Retrieved Sep 17, 2014.
  18. ^ "Is 'classic warfare' obsolete?" (PDF). Ottawa: The World Federalist Movement - Canada. January 2003. Retrieved Sep 17, 2014.
  19. ^ Kirsch, Philippe (May 2004). "ICC strictly judicial, not political" (PDF). Mondial. Ottawa: The World Federalist Movement - Canada. Retrieved Sep 17, 2014.
  20. ^ Henry Neufeld (July 31, 2006). "Ernie Regehr given 2006 World Peace Award". Canadian Mennonite. Canadian Mennonite Publishing Service Board. 10 (15).
  21. ^ "Gerry Barr appointed CEO of the Directors Guild of Canada" (Press release). Directors Guild of Canada. Mar 16, 2011. Retrieved June 26, 2014.
  22. ^ "WFM-Canada National Meeting" (PDF). Ottawa: The World Federalist Movement - Canada. August 2010. Retrieved Sep 17, 2014.
  23. ^ Paris, Erna (April 29, 2013). "Rape must be outlawed as a weapon of war". The Globe and Mail. Toronto: Phillip Crawley.
  24. ^ "Alyn Ware Receives WFMC Peace Award" (PDF). Ottawa: The World Federalist Movement - Canada. December 2014. Retrieved Sep 17, 2014.
  25. ^ "Senator Murray Sinclair calls for federal bureaucracy to 'shift its thinking' to respect Indigenous rights". Montreal: CBC News Montreal. August 11, 2016. Retrieved November 23, 2016.