Global democracy and UN Parliamentary Assembly discussed in Vancouver
Secretary-General of international campaign visits the city
The establishment of a global body of elected representatives and global democratization occupied center stage at meetings last week on the occasion of a visit by the Secretary-General of the Campaign for a UN Parliamentary Assembly, Andreas Bummel from Germany, to the city of Vancouver,
|Mr. Bummel during the Q&A session after the event on Sunday
|Image: James T. Cooper
on Canada’s west coast. At a public event on Sunday, hosted by the Vancouver branch of the World Federalist Movement – Canada, Mr. Bummel argued that the spread of democracy in the world since the end of the Cold War is a "hollow victory." "National parliaments as key institutions of democracy are undermined by more and more important decision-making at the international level that is a result from global challenges," Mr. Bummel said. "The citizens need a direct voice in global affairs and this needs to be assured through an elected world assembly."
Meeting with federal MP Don Davies
The day before, members and special guests of the Vancouver branch of the world federalists met for an informal get-together with Mr. Bummel and Canadian parliamentarian and NDP Critic for International Trade,
|Participants of the get-together with Mr. Davies and Mr. Bummel
|Image: WFM Vancouver
federal MP Don Davies. The group’s discussions focused around the international campaign to establish a UN Parliamentary Assembly (UNPA) and ways to advance it further. Mr. Davies, a longstanding supporter of the campaign, had just returned from a trip to the UN in New York. He stressed the importance of strengthening parliamentary involvement in international affairs. In what became a very constructive exchange of ideas, Mr. Davies offered his continued support.
Debate with city councillors
On July 6th, Vancouver Deputy Mayor Andrea Reimer had invited Mr. Bummel and local world federalists Blake MacLeod and Larry Kazdan to join her at City Hall for a special information session with city councillors. After a brief presentation by Mr. Bummel, and his additional comments on how municipal leaders might participate in the formation of, and the ongoing activities within the UNPA construct, Ms. Reimer and councillors questioned Mr. Bummel and shared their own thoughts in that regard. Referencing the Millennium Development Goals among other things, Ms. Reimer pointed out that international agenda-setting had significant impact on local governments, but that councillors hardly have any influence on the process. There was agreement that the question of how to involve them better, should be also explored in the context of establishing a new global assembly. As of the meeting, half of Vancouver’s councillors now support the Campaign for a UN Parliamentary Assembly.
Supported since coordinated launch
Canadian world federalists have been involved in the Campaign for a UN Parliamentary Assembly since the coordinated launch in major cities around the world in 2007, one of which took place in Vancouver. "This visit of campaign Secretary-General Andreas Bummel to Canada marks five years, and celebrates the incredible gains made in raising awareness. As World Federalists we are pleased of the progress made by the campaign, and of our participation in support. We will continue to be significant partners in this important initiative to address the democratic deficit at the supra-national level, so that issues relating to the global commons might one day be addressed by the citizens of the world through direct representation by elected parliamentarians," said Mr. MacLeod.
Top image: Panoramic view of Vancouver, by s.yume (Flickr), CC BY-NC-ND 2.0