MAKING LINKS IS VERY MUCH the current direction of the peace movement, if the 1989 Ontario Peace Conference is anything to judge by.
This year's OPC was held Sept 16 in Belleville and September 17 near Tweed, with the theme of "Linking Disarmament, Development and the Environment" Saturday morning's speakers -- Dr. Rosalie Bertell, Dr. Tony Clarke and Tom Adams of Energy Probe -- explored the interrelationship of all these issues.
The theme of linking issues carried on throughout the weekend. Participants in Tony Clarke's workshop on "Peace, Justice and the Integrity of Creation," who have worked on peace, social justice, debt, and other areas, felt that the environment now joined all these concerns together, that it was no longer useful to think in self-contained boxes. Workshops on militarization in Africa and Nicaragua were held alongside others on tritium sales and the problems of excess packaging.
One workshop on the current effects of energy policy on the environment ranged from discussion of the debt crisis to Ontario Hydro's energy monopoly in this province. Another on "Food First" dealt with agribusiness, the net flow of food from the Third World to industrialized countries, soil erosion, and everything in between. A youth gathering began plans for local peace action -- plans given more flesh in the halls outside the formal workshop.
One of the best-attended sessions was on the military' flight testing over Innu lands in Nitassinan (Labrador-Québec). Is this an issue of native sovereignty, environment or peace? Participants agreed it was all of these.
Another area that attracted a lot of interest was the workshop on the international arms trade, led by Ken Epps of Project Ploughshares. The arms trade has created a cycle of poverty and underdevelopment in the Third World, and warped the Canadian economy too. Canada sells large numbers of weapons to 21 major human rights violators, including South Korea, Indonesia and Brazil.
The conference had perhaps the largest-ever participation of local people at an OPC during its Saturday session in Belleville. The Sunday segment, held at a campsite near Tweed, was less well-attended. Not many Ontario peace activists were at the OPC, leaving organizers with a large debt that cannot be passed on to any larger network. Anyone able to help out? Send donations FOR OPC '89 to: One World Research and Education Network, 106 Catherine St, Belleville Ont., K8P 1M3. A site for next year's conference hasn't been finalized, but activists in Hamilton may agree to host it.
THE ANNUAL FALL WALK OF Toronto Disarmament Network, the "Walk for Peace, Social Justice and the Environment," will be held October 28, beginning at Queen's Park at noon.
IN KINGSTON and Aylesford, small towns in Nova Scotia's Annapolis Valley, two special events were scheduled by United Church members. The Kingston church celebrated the U.N. Day of Peace Sept.19 with a parade and picnic in the late morning. At noon everyone gathered on the church lawn in a huge circle for a minute of silence, meditation, or prayer. Then they broke out in joyous noise, accompanied by church bells, police and fire sirens, and car horns. Schools, community organizations, and a military band joined in to make it a most meaningful experience.
The Valley Presbytery of the United Church celebrated Peace Day on Sept. 30 in Aylesford with a program of drama, art, music, and discussion. Participants brought containers of earth from their homes, which they mixed with that brought by the others. Each one could take home a plant pot filled with mixed earth and a bul~ a memorable symbol of the good that can blossom from joining with others, people and nations, for constructive action, with good will.
Donald W. Craig
PEACE CASTLE UPDATE: The European University Centre for Peace Studies (EPU) at Schlaining and Vienna will be offering an advanced international program from March 19-June 2, 1990. Students and faculty come from both East and West, and spend most of the time in a medieval castle just over an hour's drive from Vienna. Tuition: 5000 Austrian Schillings (AS) Room and board: AS 2,000 or 3000 per week. Apply to EPU Secretariat by Nov. 15: A-7461, Schlaining, Austria. Phone 3355/2498.