By Elizabeth Pasternak
OPC '87, the fourth annual Ontario Peace Conference, met in September at King's College in London. About 200 people attended, representing about 100 different groups. Workshops provided something for everyone, ranging in topic from peace education to peace parenting to provincial and federal politics. Seminars discussed independent peace movements in the Eastern bloc; how to develop links to other movements; the case of Leonard Peltier; and native rights in Canada.
Ann Pohl from the Toronto Anti-Intervention Coalition felt that this year's OPC mirrored the widening viewpoint of the peace movement: Recalling the first OPC in 1984, Pohl notes, "I remember saying that it was nice to be concerned with the prospect of war but what about the real wars that are taking place now? People just nodded and said thanks for bringing it to our attention."
The 1986 NWFO campaign centred on making our province Nuclear Weapons Free Ontario, which was achieved in November 1986. This summer during the provincial election, the NWFO campaign circulated a questionnaire on eight specific nuclear-related issues among every candidate.
Forcing the implementation of NWFZ policy was less successful than bringing about the declaration of a NWFZ. Christine Peringer, reporting on the election, noted that Premier Peterson did not respond to seven of the eight questions, causing other Liberal candidates to follow suit:
Different views were expressed on the process of the NWFO campaign. Josie Wallenius of Thunder Bay felt that groups should concentrate on one issue. Others felt that coordination among groups need not be rigid. Jennifer Ramsay from Toronto said, "There are lots of things to work on together, but they shouldn't be enforced. We shouldn't spend time arguing about what's the most important issue." The debate closed with the decision to meet again in February. OPC co-ordinator Paul Pasternak said, "Ontario is hot -- people will go home and work in their communities."
By Bruce Pope
You could participate in an OPC for far less money than a trip to Florida, spend less time, have a lot more fun, and be more refreshed when it's over. Try Peace! You'll like it!
This year's annual Ontario Peace Conference (OPC) was to be held in the University of Western Ontario, but the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) was on strike. To avoid violating picket lines, we moved to nearby King's College. Great hospitality! Some of us were billeted with friends of the movement, while others slept on cots in the basement of a Catholic church. The food was vegetarian -- massive lunches and a banquet for a hundred in a Moslem mosque, prepared and graciously served by members of the congregation. After supper at the mosque, the party moved to the "warehouse" of a theater cooperative which does a lot of work around peace themes. A meeting to plan the next campaign will be held near Barrie in December of '87. The OPC is set tentatively for September 16-18, 1988 and will be held somewhere near Guelph. Peace groups from the area volunteered to be convenors.