Newsworthy

By Ross Smyth, Christine Peringer, Paul Dilse, Eric Walberg, John Bacher

Right Livelihood Awad to Rosalie Bertell

TORONTO-- Toronto-based Dr. Rosalie Bertell, a researcher and activist, has received the 1986 Right Livelihood Award, which brings a prize of $25,000. Dr. Bertell (who belongs to the Order of Gray Nuns) will use the money in the ongoing work of her organization, the International Institute of Concern for Public Health, which studies the effects of low-level radiation.

Dr. Bertell was drawn into this line of inquiry while she was a cancer researcher in Buffalo. In an interview published here in PEACE in May of 1985, she emphasized that the human gene pool is being jeopardized by the increasing radiation in the environment. Rather than merely seeking for cancer cures, she insists that it is urgent for preventive measures to be taken immediately by curbing the continuing pollution of the biosphere. She founded the institute, which is unfunded, to serve that purpose. Readers who wish to contribute to the institute's work can address it at 67 Mowat Street, Suite 343, Toronto. Phone 533-7351.

Challenge to Legality of Nuclear Weapons

BY ROSS SMYTH

VICTORIA--Lawyers for Social Responsibility held their second national conference here October 4-5. They decided to become a plaintiff in the 1987 federal court challenge on the legality of nuclear weapons. President David Wright announced that the organization will form a special committee to review arguments and recommend the method of approach to the court.

Among authorities appearing on the program were former Justice Tom Berger and Edward McWhinney, author of seventeen books on international law. Representatives of the World Federalists of Canada, the coordinating plaintiff, participated in the deliberations.

New Mundialization Campaign

BY PAUL DILSE

The World Federalists of Canada are encouraging mundialization--the dedication of municipalities to international cooperation and world law. This is usually declared in a municipal by-law. Mundialization originated in both France and Japan in 1949. Since Hanna and Alan Newcombe brought the movement to Canada in 1966, more than 25 Canadian municipalities have been mundialized.

Some mundialized Canadian cities fly the U.N. flag beside the Maple Leaf. Some twin with a municipality in another country. Some raise money for the United Nations Special Account or the U.N. Disaster Relief Fund.

The World Federalists, preparing a resource kit on mundialization, want copies of mundialization by-laws and newspaper clippings. Contact Paul Dilse, 85 Bleecker Street, Suite 929, Toronto M4X 1X1. Phone 416/921-5324.

Both Ups and Downs at the Copenhagen Conference

COPENHAGEN--The International Congress for International Year of Peace was held October 15-19 in Copenhagen. The 2300 delegates from both Eastern and Western societies spent five days talking about their agendas for peace.

The conference was organized by the World Peace Council, but many others attended who in previous years might not have come--groups who insist that such conferences be open. Their demand for openness was partly successful. Whereas previously Peace Council activists boycotted meetings that included alternative peace groups from the Eastern countries--the people they call "dissidents"--they accepted the presence of such people in the Copenhagen meeting. The Ukrainian Peace Committee (a London-based anti-Soviet organization) was represented and reportedly also members of the Czech group, Charter 77. Remarkably, Olga and Yury Medvedkov, of the Moscow Group for Trust, also attended. They left their country only days before and came as honorary Danish delegates. Yury Medvedkov spoke eloquently in a workshop on trustbuilding. It is not profitable, he said, to dwell on the past. We should look to the future in search of new ways to build trust between people in the two blocs.

This breakthrough in mutual tolerance was, however, offset by the negative final plenary session of the conference. Thirty people, holding up "Afghanistan" signs, interrupted the proceedings by walking onstage and standing behind the speakers. This action was in protest against a perceived lack of balance in the agenda, since such issues as Afghanistan had not been included.

The crowd reacted by chanting "Go Home, CIA," with raised fists. From the audience a number of people moved forward and tried to push and drag the protestors from the stage. This resulted in a general brawl, although fortunately, no serious physical injuries were incurred. When security forces were called and the protestors removed, the proceedings continued. This melée was the only aspect of the conference which the press--including Canadian TV covered extensively.

Soviet Families Visit Grindstone

BY ERIC WALBERG

For three days in September, Soviet diplomats and their families lived with Canadian peace activists on Grindstone Island, Ontario. The visit renewed a tradition that dates back to the 1960s, when Quakers ran a program at Grindstone that brought together diplomats from the U.N. and Ottawa..

This year discussion focused on networking and breaking down stereotypes.. Alexei Malnikov, a TV producer, showed documentaries he had made about Canada for Soviet broadcasting, including a look at the Doukhobors, Expo, and a ballooning competition in Ottawa. He made another film during the weekend.

Belau to Stay Nuclear Free

KOROR, Belau--The world's first nuclear free constitution has been upheld by the Belau Court of Appeal. A plebiscite was held in February to challenge Belau's new constitution, which prohibits the introduction of nuclear weapons. Some 72 percent of the voters approved a "Compact of Free Association" which would have over-ridden the constitution and permitted the United States to store nuclear weapons in that small Pacific island and to train the armed forces of other nations there. Under a 1947 United Nations mandate, Belau and other South Pacific territories became trusts administered by the United States. This arrangement is being terminated, with a compact according to which some of these islands--notably the Marshalls and the Northern Mariana Islands--would become a U.S. commonwealth. However, Belau will not be part of this arrangement, since a three-quarters majority would be required to accept it, in view of its contradiction to the constitution. It seems almost certain that this constitution will be upheld in any future plebiscites.

Ontarians Seek Referendum on Nuclear Production

A new "Nuclear Free Ontario" campaign has been launched in response to the Ontario Liberal government's decision to violate its election promises and proceed with the construction of the Darlington nuclear generating power station. The goal of the campaign (which is not the same as the Nuclear Weapon Free Zone campaign) is a referendum during the next provincial election to decide the future of the Ontario nuclear industry. The ballot would ask Ontario voters if they "favor the gradual and complete phase out of all nuclear fuel chain activities in Ontario by the year 2020, beginning with the cancellation and permanent shut-down of the Darlington Nuclear Generating Station."

Such a phase out goes beyond the successful referenda in Austria, Norway, and Sweden, that prevented or phased out nuclear activities in their countries. The appeal for a referendum in Ontario, issued by peace and environmental groups, noted that the "extraordinary proposal for a direct democratic decision" was "justified by the extraordinary risks associated with nuclear power." It says that an accident at Pickering comparable to Chernobyl would cause "fatalities numbering in the thousands," disrupting "the entire fabric of life in Ontario." Should the province continue to expand nuclear power, it is predicted that a "catastrophic accident" would become "only a matter of time."

The referendum campaign was launched with a tour of three Sammids, a people whose way of life is being destroyed from the fallout from the Chernobyl disaster. The fallout of Cesium 137 contaminated these herders' food sources by making their reindeer unfit for human consumption. A five year ban on the slaughter of reindeer has been imposed. Mass graves are being dug for 40,000 reindeer that must be killed because they are so radioactive. Fish, berries, and mushrooms are also contaminated.

The campaign will demonstrate the economic waste of nuclear power. The call for a referendum notes that hidden subsidies have allowed nuclear power in the province to continue to expand, while in the largely free market of the United States, no nuclear power plant has been commissioned since 1976. Darlington's $11 billion price tag will cost $3,500 to every household in the province.

In addition to its long term goal of phasing out the nuclear fuel cycle, including uranium mining and refining, the nuclear free Ontario campaign has a number of immediate demands. These include the halt to exports of reactors and non-medical radioactive substances to nuclear weapons states and nonsignatories of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, a ban on the export of tritium, and the shutting down of the aging Nuclear Demonstration Project reactor at Rolphton.

Nobel Winner: John Polanyi!

TORONTO-- Professor John Polanyi has won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry, but it's his 27-year commitment to peace that most people associate with his name. His research is in the field of chemical laser technology, which can have military applications. But Polanyi also contributes to the ongoing dialogue with our government.

Polanyi's popularity as a lecturer creates occasions for him to promote peace. For example, his address to a joint meeting of the Empire and Canadian Clubs was entitled "A Scientist Looks at his World." He calls this a "trick title," because it gave him a chance to talk about two worlds-- as a scientist and as a citizen with a science education living in the world we all must deal with. He says "they can't keep me quiet about the search for spurious solutions to the current problems through scientific gimmicks."

His scientist's assessment of Reykjavik is balanced. "On the positive side, the sort of thing that 25 year ago was put forward as ivory tower dreaming, now heads of state are willing to discuss seriously. The negative part is that it seems evident that there is a loose grasp of what sort of world we could survive in. At one end of the spectrum is a world freed of threat by an impervious shield, and at the other end a world freed of weapons of mass destruction by the removal of all weapons--not an achievable aim because the knowledge is with us forever. In an extreme crisis that's the time some method of mass destruction will be re-introduced. I'm anxious to see arms control as a first step in the direction where nations no longer resort to weapons. This requires a rethinking of relations between nations and the rights of nations. Disarmament cannot save us from the need to rethink ways of settling our differences."

Peace Magazine Dec 1986-Jan 1987

Peace Magazine Dec 1986-Jan 1987, page 38. Some rights reserved.

Search for other articles by Ross Smyth here
Search for other articles by Christine Peringer here
Search for other articles by Paul Dilse here
Search for other articles by Eric Walberg here
Search for other articles by John Bacher here

Peace Magazine homepage