Our new ambassador to the United Nations is Louise Frechette, who has worked with External Affairs since 1971, previously serving in New York, Athens, Geneva and Madrid as well as, of course, Ottawa. She began her career as an assistant deputy minister in the International Trade Division of the External Affairs Department, later served as ambassador of Canada in Argentina and Uruguay, and was for a time director of relations with European Summit countries. Her university education is in history and economics, at the Université de Montreal and the College d'Europe in Bruges.
Interest groups have become so important to government decision-making that a task force on civil service interaction with the public has recommended the appointment of a deputy-secretary of consultation in the Privy Council Office to deal with interest groups. This is according to a Toronto Star article by former NDP campaign director Val Sears. He says "party politics is no longer the way to make a difference." He quotes Greenpeace's legislative director, Steve Shallhorn, saying that direct action, whether by demonstrations or occupation of government offices, is effective because it raises the profile of issues and attracts media atttention.
However, some groups such as CIIPS have been scrapped even though the government needs the information and alternate view-point interest groups can provide. So keep up the pressure!
"Where are all the people?" asked Daniel Ellsberg. The former Pentagon insider turned activist was speaking at the Hundredth Monkey action in May, when several thousand people had gathered to protest continued testing at the Nevada Nuclear Test Site. But considering the magnitude of the problem -alarming cancer rates in the area, and $40 to 60 billion spent on each test-one would hope there would have been hundreds of thousands.
The reason for popular apathy became clear as a group of about 500 protesters began their two-day trek through Las Vegas and across the desert to the Test Site. "What tests? They stopped testing around here years ago" said several misinformed local people.
Two tests have already taken place this year, four more remain. Radiation is vented 52% of the time. To protect the nearby cities of Los Vegas and Los Angeles, the tests are carried out when the prevailing winds blow eastward, carrying the radiation across the American mainland, right up into Canada. Radiation in Southern Ontario increases dramatically every time a test takes place.
At the test site, Shoshone elders spoke out against continued testing on land which they claim as their own. Joining them in solidarity were leaders of the grassroots movement of the indigenous people of Kazhakstan, which successfully stopped Soviet nuclear testing in their republic. According to the former politburo member who began the anti-testing movement, in Kazhakstan today 1/3 of the children are stillborn, and 1/5 of the population has cancer.
On Easter Sunday, an ecumenical service offered by the long-time resistance group Nevada Desert Experience garnered more support for the protesters. Seven hundred people, including a man dressed as an Easter Bunny, crossed the line into the Test Site. They were briefly detained on huge holding cages built on the site, and then released. It has become too expensive for the government to formally process all those who cross the line in protest
Another civil disobedience action is planned in the fall, when the European Peace Walk arrives in Nevada. The Walk is at this moment inching its way across the United States, bearing a message of reconciliation with the indigenous peoples of America. If you are interested in participating or sending messages of encouragement, please contact the Hundredth Monkey, P.O. Box 402, Arcata, California 95521, (707)826-2641.
Eric Eberhardt and Janet Creery. Eric Eberhardt is an organic farmer and natural foodstore manager who has been a peace activist since the Vietnam War
to ANVA, for our incorrect anouncement in Newsworthy of March/April that they were celebrating their 10th anniversary with nonviolent actions and new materials. Also for a wrong Montreal phone number.
This is ANVA's corrected version:
The Alliance for Nonviolent Action is celebrating 10 years of organizing consistent, in-depth and effective social change projects. For more information on the Alliance, its magazine Subject to Change, and resources available, please call 514/324-3284 or 416/651-5930, or write P.O. Box 38l, Station E, Montreal, Que., H2T 3A7, or Box 235, 253 College St., Toronto, Ontario, M5T lR5.