Newsworthy

By David Fairhall, Kit Pineau, Shirley Farlinger, Simon Threlkeld, Valerie Osborne

Europe Wary of American Nuclear Stance

BY DAVID FAIRHALL

A cross-national European poll conducted for the Manchester Guardian and published February 22 reveals that fewer than one Briton in three trusts President Reagan to put an end to the nuclear arms race. Asked whether the Americans and the Russians genuinely want to stop the arms race, 35 percent of the British sample thought the Russians did want to stop it, but only 31 percent thought this of the Americans.

West Germans, more than the French, British, or Italians, favored military ties with the U.S.-54 percent of adults, compared with 41 in Britain, 26 in France, and 19 in Italy.

However, even this degree of support did not generally include acceptance of American nuclear weapons. The survey showed all four countries markedly disapproving of the basing of U.S. nuclear weapons in Europe: 56 percent in Britain, 60 in France, 66 inGermany, 68 in Italy.

Questioned on what to do with European nuclear weapons, 57 percent of the German sample would opt to dismantle them, whereas only 34 percent of the British took this line, slightly fewer of the French, and 79 percent of the Italians.

Next Steps for Ontario as NWFZ

TORONTO -- The MPP who led Ontario to its new status as a nuclear weapon free zone last fall is forging ahead with plans to "put teeth into the concept." On February 2, Richard Johnston tabled two new bills in the Ontario Legislative Assembly. The first is an amendment to the Planning Act. It would prevent Ontario companies from entering into contracts for nuclear weapons production.

The other bill provides for conversion. It would require all companies engaging in the production, testing, or transportation of goods used primarily for nuclear weapons to disclose facts about the contract, to set aside some of the profits for the assistance of displaced workers, and to establish an in-plant conversion committee to develop civilian uses for the technologies. These committees are to include representatives of the communities.

Johnston is urging Ontarians to read the bills and to write their local MPP and Premier Peterson-and to send Johnston a copy of each letter.

Nuclear Plaintiffs Gathering Forces for Court Case

VANCOUVER- Support continues to grow for an initiative that will ask Canadian courts to declare nuclear weapons illegal. The two main groups that, so far, expect to be plaintiffs in this action are The World Federalists and Lawyers for Social Responsibility. Three other co-plaintiffs, about 100 organizations, and seven municipalities have endorsed the action. The three co-plaintiffs are the Assembly of First Nations, Veterans Against Nuclear Arms, and National Union of Provincial Government Employees. Among the eminent legal advisors are an international legal expert, Edward McWhinney, and former B.C. Supreme Court judge Thomas Berger.

Different approaches are being discussed as to how the case might be formulated. One is to seek to get a court declaration that nuclear weapons are illegal per se, without focusing on any particular treaties or policies of the Canadian government. This approach would likely meet with the least resistance. The other approach would be to examine a particular government policy, such as the "first use" doctrine of NATO, which the Canadian government supports. This military strategy calls for initiating the use of nuclear weapons in the event that NATO finds itself losing a conventional war. This may be easier to formulate as a strictly legal case, since whether or not nuclear weapons are illegal, their use certainly would be, under a number of long-standing international agreements.

The organizers are developing this as a grassroots action, for which they are organizing local support groups to seek endorsements and donations from city councils and local groups across the country.

"Our ability to demonstrate a large public constituency for this case, especially from outside the peace movement, will be a major factor in influencing, not only the government, but the courts' decision," says Dieter Heinrich, coordinator of the nuclear weapons legal action.

Peacefund's Projects

BY SHIRLEY FARLINGER

OTTAWA -- Peacefund Canada is continuing fund-raising and providing support to peace projects in Canada and abroad. At its December board meeting, projects dealing with the following concerns received grants: Militarism in Africa; Asia and Pacific Peace Workshop; Caribbean militarization; Sri Lanka Centre for Society and Religion; Unsafe Harbours; World Without War; YWCA workshop; YMCA peace projects in Northern Thailand; Kootenay Meet on Plutonium; Psychologie et Paix; Zone Libre; L'Alliance pour la Paix du Québec; and Centre for Peace Work and International Exchange.

Baha'i Place for Peace

A building that eminent architects are describing as the Taj Mahal of the 20th century was opened recently in Delhi. It is a symbol of peace to the members of the Baha'i faith, for whom the unity of humanity is the highest ideal. Several Canadian Baha'is traveled to India to the opening of the lotus-shaped white marble building.

During the past year, the Baha'is donated money to the Peace Studies program at the University of Toronto, and published an inspirational peace book. Special editions of it were presented to leaders of all nations.

Veterans Visit Ottawa

BY VALERIE OSBORNE

OTTAWA- A delegation of Veterans Against Nuclear Arms traveled to Ottawa in February and met with a number of officials to argue for change in defence priorities. Led by C.G. ("Giff') Gifford, a World War II bomber navigator, these veterans met Defence Minister Perrin Beatty and Deputy Defence Minister Robert Fowler. Later they met with members of the opposition parties and the Senate Defence Committee.

As spokesman, retired Navy Captain R.A. Creery urged the creation of a Canadian Air Defence Command to replace assimilation in NORAD. With Canada's naval force, he said, Air Defence Command should maintain surveillance and control of Canadian territory, waters, and air space. It should guarantee information about any unauthorized intrusions into Canadian space by the Pentagon, but ought not be under U.S. command. It should give similar information to the Soviets and to a U.N. monitoring agency when that is set up. Canada should also promote a northern demilitarized zone. The group discussed with Mr. Beatty their report, Towards a World Without War: Next Steps in Canadian Defence Policy.

McGill to Review Fuel Air Explosions Study

MONTREAL -- Members of McGill's Project Ploughshares objected in March to some research that has been going on at their university for several years. Two professors of Mechanical Engineering, Dr. R. Knystautas and Dr. J.H.S. Lee explode gas into steel pipes, partly to learn how to prevent gas explosion accidents. However, according to McGill's student paper, they are also developing a fuel air bomb with Defence Department funding. This type of "conventional" weapon has been classed by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute as an “inhumane and indiscriminate weapon." When the contract was up for renewal March 16, peace activists appealed to McGill's Board of Governors to withhold approval. Two committees were set up to review the issue, and to report in September. One of them is to set up ethical guidelines.

International Chernobyl Day Protests Planned

BY SIMON THRELKELD

HAMILTON-An international anti-nuclear protest is shaping up for Chernobyl Day, Sunday, April 26. In the U.S. the Greens and the New York City branch of Performing Artists for Nuclear Disarmament are among those organizing and promoting it. Chernobyl Day protests are also expected in other countries, including some East bloc nations.

April 26 is, of course, the anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor disaster in the Ukraine. Chernobyl is a symbol for what is wrong with nuclear technology. There is likely to be much public interest in the events of the day. Some rallies will feature the music of those who have been most victimized by nuclear technology. Another suggestion is to have several minutes of silence, perhaps in a circle, with photos of the victims being held aloft.

Bull Market for Ethical Funds

VANCOUVER-The campaign for divestment of funds for South Africa has made investors more conscious of the social effects of their investments. Few people can investigate the business practices of companies, but they can buy into an ethical investment mutual fund, such as Van-City's Ethical Growth Fund, C.E.D.A.R, the Investor's Group's Summa Fund, and Crown Life's Commitment Fund. The ethical criteria vary. Some emphasize progressive labor practices, equal opportunities for women, avoidance of liquor, tobacco, or gambling. Others pick stocks on environmental considerations. All these groups avoid weapons manufacturing companies, however; so far, their earnings are quite good. It's nice to find out that scrupulous ethics can be good business.

Larry Trunkey, an investment advisor with Bums Fry, is now publishing the CNEI Newsletter-the Canadian Network for Ethical Investment. Subscriptions are $10. Box 1615, Victoria, B.C. V8W 2X7.

Peace Magazine Apr-May 1987

Peace Magazine Apr-May 1987, page 38. Some rights reserved.

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