By David Kraft, Shirley Farlinger, Martin Zeilig, Jim Oakes, David Delaunay, Gary Marchant | 1986-06-01 12:00:00

Canadian Peace Alliance

By David Kraft

THE CANADIAN PEACE ALLIANCE IS OFF TO A STRONG beginning with the support of 150 founding member organizations representing more than 1000 Canadian peace-related groups. Included are groups from every province in the country and the Northwest Territories, almost all national peace organizations, and strong support from the labour movement.

The CPA will provide a variety of services to its member groups. These include a monthly "clearinghouse mailing" with materials submitted by organizations wishing to share information on a Canada-wide level. The CPA will also maintain an up-to-date listing of Canadian peace groups, and will support campaigns and activities initiated by its member groups. More services will be introduced as they become feasible. Proposals under discussion include a computer networking service and information on the parliamentary process relating to disarmament issues.

THE CPA HAS RECENTLY OPENED ITS NEW OFFICE AT 555 Bloor Street West, Toronto M55 1Y6. Phone 588-5555. Hired as staff are Bob Penner, formerly coordinator of the Toronto Disarmament Network, and Wendy Johnston, most recently with Canadian Action for Nicaragua.

Fundraising plans are now in place and a recruitment effort has recently begun. The CPA hopes that both umbrella groups and their constituent members will join the CPA directly to provide as much input and participation as possible. Groups wishing to join may receive the CPA structure document and membership form from the office. The Peace Alliance Steering Committee will be meeting in July in New Brunswick and this year's convention is set for Winnipeg,

some time in November.

International Year of Peace

By Shirley Farlinger

COPENHAGEN WILL BE THE SITE OF AN OPEN world congress, Oct.15 - 19, "To Safeguard Peace and the Future of Humanity,". Contact The Secretariat for the World Congress devoted to the International Year of Peace, Kompagnistraedc 34, 4, DK-1208, Copenhagen K. Denmark.

THE TORONTO CITY COUNCIL VOTED ON APRIL 21 to recognize the International Year of Peace. Ideas for special events include sponsoring a debate between U.S. and Soviet spokespeople, opposing military toys, and organizing festivals for United Nations Day. A peace committee was appointed to coordinate planning for the events.

THE GREAT PEACE JOURNEY BEGAN IN EUROPE in 1985 and hopes to reach all governments of U.N. member countries by the end of IYP. Inga Thorsson, chairperson, says, "In the long run the purpose is to form a new security system in a world when nobody goes hungry because we spend money on armaments.

In two weeks 25 European countries responded to its Five Fundamental Questions:

1. Are you willing to forbid your country's defence forces from leaving your own country's territory - if all other U.N. countries do the same?

2. Are you willing to forbid nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction in your country - if all other U.N. countries do the same?

3. Are you willing to forbid the export of weapons from your country - if all other U.N. countries do the same?

4. Are you willing to cooperate in joint action so that clean water, food, elementary health-care and school education will be guaranteed to all people in the whole world?

5. Are you willing to solve future conflicts with other nations through peaceful means, and not through military actions or threats?

ONLY THREE COUNTRIES, ALBANIA,Czechoslovakia, and the German Democratic Republic, have not received the delegation. Three others, Britain, France and the Federal Republic of Germany gave unclear answers. But no country has said 'no'. Begun by the Swedish section of WILPF (Women's International League for Peace and Freedom), Women for Peace and IFOR (International Fellowship of Reconciliation) the supporting groups now include the Red Cross, Save the Children's Fund as well as many peace and church organizations. It is hoped many groups in Canada will form a coalition to support this initiative.

THE PROJECT WILL BE FUNDED BY THE SALE OF white flower pins and flowered scarves. A book explaining the initiative and the progress so far is available. Each country is organizing its own strategy to approach its government.. The only thing that cannot be changed is the five questions. Contact your local WILPF group or write: WILPF Toronto, 218 Epson Downs Dr., Downsview, Ont. M3M 1P2.


The Winnipeg Peace Conference

A RECENT CONFERENCE, "IN SEARCH OF PEACE," was dedicated to the memory of slain Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme. At its opening, 400 people heard U.N. Ambassador Stephen Lewis eulogize Palme as a "gentle but rivetting personality" who staunchly defended multilateralism. Lewis portrayed Palme as the "ultimate eclectic in his passions" and his assassination as the "ultimate irrationality". Turning to the United Nations, Ambassador Lewis said that it "keeps the pressure magnificently" on the US and USSR at their bilateral nuclear arms negotiations. Lewis said that Canada is devoted to and will not waver in support of a Comprehensive Test Ban (CTB). During his 18 month tenure, this country has also initiated a major resolution on the sticky question of verification.

The Ambassador calls peace more than just "the mere absence of war." It also involves human rights, poverty and equality. Lewis says that we must make peace an issue in the schools, so that young minds can deal with the problems "central to human survival." (Later, several teachers, principals and students congratulated him for bringing this up.)

CANADA'S PAST AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N. and former representative to NATO, George Ignatieff, waded right into the controversy over the renewal of the NORAD, noting that there had been no public debate in the Diefenbaker government when it was first signed. It was a case of "straight misrepresentation" by those with a vested interest in the pact. According to Ignatieff, NORAD uses U.S. rules of security, strategy and equipment. Canada is a very minor junior partner. (The same applies to cruise missile testing in Canada. Our government is not told of the reasons for recent cruise crashes).

Mr. Ignatieff was just as critical of NATO and Canada's role in that organization. He reminded the intent crowd that our commitments to NATO are both "non-military" and "military." NATO was established in 1949 to settle disputes peacefully, and not to be "inconsistent with the UN Charter." He believes that NATO should pledge "no first use of nuclear weapons" similar to the one the Soviets made in 1982.

Mr. Ignatieff pleaded for a Western response to the Soviet proposal to rid the world of nuclear weapons by the year 2000. He suggested peaceful alternatives for this country to pursue. We should develop an international Crisis Management Centre, participate in the proposed International Satellite Monitoring Agency, the European Space Agency's Eureka project and even NASA's peaceful research.

HAS WORLD WAR III ALREADY BEGUN? Dr. Rosalie Bertell thinks so. "The first victims of World War III haven't yet been heard in the corporate boardrooms, government offices, or theological circles" where decisions are made on weapon sales and morality. At most we have heard of the victims of our warped economic priorities which harm the developing world, the domestic poor and the unemployed.

Bertell stresses that the cost of deterrence includes increased cancer rates for those working with uranium. The physicist and Catholic nun is trying to alert people to the health problems caused by over 40 years of nuclearism.

TWO OTHER NOTABLE CONTRIBUTORS WERE long-time woman's rights and peace campaigner, Muriel Duckworth (a member of the Order of Canada) and World Federalist Fergus Watt. Both agree that disarmament can only come through sustained non-violent popular action. The recent Philippine example was cited as an illustration.

THE PHILOSOPHICAL INSIGHT FOR THE conference was set by Fritjof Capra, a visionary Austrian-born physicist and author. Dr. Capra sees an "interdependence of all phenomena". This new paradigm differs from the old one which viewed the world as fragmented, and humans as isolated beings forced to confront the world outside.

Militarism--and especially Star Wars--reflect the old paradigm by seeking security in isolation rather than cooperation. Capra foresees an earth where common security (an idea championed by Olof Palme) replaces the outdated notion of national security.

AFTER THE LAST MINUTE CANCELLATION OF Luis Herrera Campins, past President of Venezuela, two able replacements were found--Professor Carl Ridd and visiting South African Anglican Minister Geoffrey Davies. Davies, a close associate of Desmond Tutu, shared his understanding of the conflict in his volatile homeland. Referring to his attempts as a white minister to gain the trust of his black colleagues, he finds great hope in the Africans' willingness to forgive. There is still time for peaceful change in South Africa--which he called "a microcosm of all the world's problems."

The memories of intimate human touches remain vivid. Rosalie Bertell, gently stroking the head of a baby while talking with the child's young mother; Fritjof Capra explaining Galileo's view to a couple of wide-eyed school girls; Stephen Lewis spontaneously embracing Premier Howard Pawley, who greeted the opening session. One activist called it "the most memorable peace conference in Manitoba's history." Even the skeptics were swayed.

The True North Strong and Free?

This is a public inquiry into nuclear arms and Canadian policy. November 8-9 Edmonton. Cosponsored by PSR/Edmonton, this National Inquiry will ask questions about specific areas of Canada's involvement in the nuclear arms race. Confirmed participants to date include Pierre E. Trudeau, George Ignatieff, Lloyd Axworthy, M.P, Pauline Jewett, M.P., Maj. Gen. Leonard Johnson (Ret.), Bishop Remi de Roo, David Suzuki, William Arkin, Ernie Regehr, John Lamb and Dr. Dorothy Goresky. PSR/Edmonton, 486-3277.


Third Annual Ontario Peace Conference

ON SEPT. 5,6,7, 1986, 200 PEACE AND DISARMAMENT people will make a camp outside Sundridge, Ontario (south of North Bay) their home for three days of sharing, planning, reuniting, and making new friends.

The Ontario Peace Conference promises to be an exciting event. The Eagle Crest Outdoor Centre will provide food and lodging, swimming, canoeing, wind surfing, hiking, and camping facilities, if desired. In short--all the benefits of Ontario's near north!

A tentative agenda has been sent to hundreds of Ontarians. Under the theme "Toward a Nuclear Free Ontario," time has been slotted for guest speakers, such as Rosalie Bertell, workshops on issues and campaigns, such as Ontario as a Nuclear Weapon Free Zone, and on personal and pro-active themes, participant-called caucuses, including a women's caucus, and plenaries for decisions and directions.

Your ideas on the agenda, suggestions for resource people or workshop facilitators, etc. are most welcome, as is early registration. The 200 openings will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Contact the facilitators of the conference, the North Eastern Ontario Network for Peace (NEON) at P.O. Box 264, North Bay P1B 8H2. 705/476-7060.

Ontario: Nuclear Weapons Free Zone in '86?

ON NOVEMBER 24, 1983, THE FOLLOWING MOTION, moved by Richard Allen and seconded by his NDP caucus colleague, Richard Johnston, was put before the Ontario Legislature:

That, in the opinion of this House, the Province of Ontario, Canada, should declare itself a Nuclear Arms Free Zone, and the Government should prohibit the deployment of nuclear weapons in Ontario, the testing of nuclear weapons and associated equipment in the Province, the construction of nuclear weapons and associated equipment, the transport of nuclear weapons and associated equipment through and within the Province, and the export of goods and materials for use in the construction and deployment of nuclear arms. In addition, the Province should encourage cities, provinces, and states throughout the world to initiate similar action.

The Tories voted against the motion, the NDP for it, and the Liberals were split. The motion was defeated. However, it's hard to keep a good motion down. On April 16, 1986, Johnston announced that he has again put the above resolution on the Legislature's order paper, to be debated in the fall. Peace and disarmament activists across Ontario have been discussing whether 1986 is the year to "go for it."

THE PEACE RESEARCH INSTITUTE - DUNDAS, WHICH has been acting as the "Temporary NWFZ Clearinghouse" for Ontario, reports that 34 places are now NWFZ, representing about 30 percent of the population of the province. Becoming a NWFZ has become a priority of activists in areas such as Ottawa and the Muskokas. These developments create a natural impetus to have the province declared a NWFZ.

Much work has been done on the issue of NWFZ in the past three years. For instance, the demand that Canada become a NWFZ was included in the Peace Petition Caravan Campaign. Also, the Manitoba Legislature unanimously declared Manitoba to be a NWFZ on May 30, 1985.

The political landscape has also changed. The federal Liberals came out of the 1984 election split on issues relating to nuclear weapons. In March of 1986, their Ontario section voted in favor of a convention resolution advocating that Canada be declared a NWFZ. Premier Peterson and six present Cabinet Ministers were among the 13 Liberals who supported the NDP motion in 1983.

WHILE ONE CAN MAKE A GOOD CASE FOR AN "Ontario NWFZ in 1986" campaign, there are important concerns. An initial one is that this diverts efforts from other issues, such as Star Wars. Our energies should not be spread thinner. However, opposition, both to Star Wars contracts for Ontario companies, and to Canada's involvement in Star Wars through NORAD, are central to what being a NWFZ would mean to Ontario. These could easily be integrated into a NWFZ campaign. Another concern is that, since a vote in the Ontario Legislature would make the province a NWFZ only symbolically, it is not worth our time and energy. Many of us have faced that argument at the municipal level. However, local and provincial campaigns are useful in that a lot of education can be done. Also, it would send a signal to our federal government (which has jurisdiction in matters related to nuclear weapons systems) that Canadians want their country to play a peacemaking role. New Zealand's defiance of the U.S. nuclear policy began with locally initiated NWFZ campaigns; theirs is a stirring model. In any campaign to make Canada a NWFZ (perhaps during the 1988 federal election), it would help to have the country's most populous province "on-side," even symbolically.

WHAT TACTICS AND TOOLS SHOULD BE USED IN such a campaign? It would require lobbying and educational aspects. One possibility would be to organize riding committees to meet with MPPs. These committees could also organize educational events and public speakers to rally support for a bottom-up push. Citizens of communities that are already NWFZ could write and speak to provincial politicans. Those in places that are not NWFZ would work to have them declared as such. (Unfortunately, referendum votes would not be possible until the next round of municipal elections). Then these communities would pressure the MPPs. A campaign might need the following tools: a model resolution; a model letter to the MPPs; a packet of fact sheets/speakers' notes on NWFZs; a province-wide leaflet with space for each group to print its name and address; and a regular campaign newsletter of results and lessons.

Group of 78 Conference

"TOWARD A COMMON SECURITY" IS THE THEME chosen for the Group of 78's Annual Conference in memory of Olof Palme, author of Common Security: A Blueprint for Survival and late Prime Minister of Sweden. The conference will again be at Stoney Lake, Ontario, Sept. 5-7.

The Canadian Prize for Peace

GEOFFREY BENN IS WORKING TO CREATE A NEW way for corporations to support peace. He has created the Dove for Peace Foundation, a $4-5 million capital fund, which will provide $500,000 each year for a scholarship trust fund in perpetuity. This money will enable students from abroad to come to Canada to study Humanities and Government. Finalists will be selected by a board and then all of Canada will choose by calling a 900 telephone number. Benn hopes the CBC will televise the finalists and the winner of the prize. So far he has raised $15,000 from corporate donors and he has promises from others that the required capital will be found. His Foundation is now a registered charity with a tax number. Benn plans to promote the fund at the CNE this year. To support A Canadian Prize for Peace make your cheque out to The Dove for Peace Foundation and send it to P.O. Box 5000, Station F, Toronto, Ont. M4Y Z9Z.


The Firing Range at L'Ascension

WHEN A CF-18 SWOOPED OVER THE VILLAGE church recently, Lucien Fortin had a glimpse of his worst fears about the planned firing range. "A jet came in low, near the church cross," Mr. Fortin, the local school principal, said in an interview. "And when the children came home from school they were very nervous."

Mr. Fortin is one of the 85 home owners who have put their houses up for sale to oppose the construction of a firing range for the CF-18 jetfighters from the base at Bagotville, 65 kms. to the southeast. The residents fear that noise will shatter the tranquility of this village. The federal cabinet minister for the region, Benoit Bouchard, however, has suggested that the airbase at Bagotville might be closed down if the firing range isn't built.

Plans to build an installation near Bagotville began in 1969, when a squadron of CF-5s was first stationed at the base. The search for a site was stepped up three years ago, to accommodate the arrival of the new CF-18s. Base officials chose an uninhabited 140 square km. area northeast of L'Ascension. The $1 million price tag was to involve the clearing of a strip around the perimeter and the construction of a sand-covered target in the center. Only non-explosive ammunition would be fired. The defence department wants to locate a firing range within 80 km. of the base to reduce operational costs. At present, CF-18 pilots from Bagotville carry out practice missions to firing ranges near Tracadie, New Brunswick, and Valcartier, Québec. Construction of the planned one near L'Ascension would reduce flying distances and save $2.5 million annually in fuel.

Since the local residents first got wind of the project in 1983, a coalition of 15 groups has formed to oppose it, with the support of another 100 organizations. Despite this widespread opposition, the commander of the Bagotville base maintains that the concerns about noise and environmental damage are unfounded. Col. Romeo Lalonde said in a telephone interview that an impact study commissioned by the defence department concluded that the firing range would not harm the environment. "Their opposition is not founded on facts. They don't know what they're opposing," Col. Lalonde said. "They have no idea what it is we're going to build."

THE COALITION, HOWEVER, HAS OBTAINED DETAILS from a leaked copy of the impact study, which is classified. Gerald Scullion, a town councillor from Alma, called the study inadequate and described it as more of a military document than an environmental impact review. He added that the predicted noise levels in the study are the result of computer simulations rather than on-site tests using CF-18s.

However, the mayor of L'Ascension, Adrien Tremblay, said in a newspaper interview that the "For Sale" campaign was premature, and advised the municipal council to remain neutral until it receives a copy of the impact study.

The provincial government, which owns the land where the firing range would be situated, is currently examining the study. Members of the former Parti-Québecois government had voiced opposition to the installation, but the new Liberal government has yet to announce a position.

The federal minister of state for communications, Mr. Bouchard, whose riding includes the proposed site, predicted that the Bagotville base might have to be moved away if the firing range isn't approved. Coalition leader Mr. Scullion called the minister's comments a "political threat."


By Gary Marchant

END THE ARMS RACE IN VANCOUVER HAS PREPARED A petition against Star Wars for circulation throughout Canada. Its campaign was launched in April during the week of the peace festival and copies are being sent to other groups throughout the country.

The petition has three elements. It calls for (1) no Canadian involvement in the testing, development, production, or deployment of any Star Wars system or component; (2) an end to all Canadian political support for Reagan's Strategic Defence Initiative; (3) positive alternatives to SDI -- especially a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, strengthening the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, and development of an Inter-national Satellite Monitoring Agency. Anyone who has not received copies of this petition can obtain it from EAR, 1708 W. 16th Ave., Vancouver. Phone 736-2366.

Peace Magazine Jun-Jul 1986

Peace Magazine Jun-Jul 1986, page 27. Some rights reserved.

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