SASKATCHEWAN -- People in Saskatchewan are campaigning to have the province declared a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone. Integral to this campaign is the stopping of cruise testing and uranium mining. Saskatchewan is involved in the nuclear arms race in at least three ways: (1) It is a regular site for cruise missile tests at Primrose Air Weapons Range; (2) Canada is the largest world producer of uranium and most of it Project Ploughshares Coordinator comes from Saskatchewan. Saskatchewan uranium makes its way into the atomic bomb programs of South Korea, France and the United States. Five Out of every six pounds of uranium that Saskatchewan sells to the United States becomes part of the military stockpile which is drawn upon to make hydrogen bombs or to breed plutonium for atomic weapons like the MX missile. (3) The Saskatchewan government is promoting the participation of businesses in Star Wars contracts.
If Saskatchewan declared itself a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone it would contribute to stopping the arms race. The Saskatchewan campaign is based on the belief that we cannot insist that other parts of the world give up their involvement in nuclear weapons until we are first prepared to give up our own participation in cruise testing, uranium mining, and Star Wars research.
One of the goals of the campaign is to build a solid grassroots base of support throughout the province. Individuals, families, churches, businesses, and religious and community groups are invited to display a specially designed peace symbol on their homes and buildings, to announce to others their commitment towards peace and making Saskatchewan a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone.
On February 21, the Inter-Church Uranium Committee, Project Ploughshares Saskatoon, and the Church and Society Committee of Mayfair United Church sponsored an Empowerment and Networking Seminar for people currently involved in the NWFZ campaign.
About fifty people gathered in Saskatoon where they shared their NWFZ experiences, their visions of a Nuclear Weapons Free Saskatchewan, and ideas about possible initiatives. People also supported and encouraged each other for the work they've been doing. One result of this good gathering will be a NWFZ organizing handbook that will include ideas that came out of the seminar.
Contact the Inter-Church Uranium Committee, Box 7724, Saskatoon, Sask. S7K 4R4 (306) 934-3030; The Regina Coalition for Peace and Disarmament, 2138 McIntyre St., Regina, Sask., 54P 2R7. (306) 757-0610 or 584-7892; or Project Ploughshares Saskatoon, #6-271 2nd Avenue S., Saskatoon, Sask. S7K 1K8. (306) 244-9722.
Joanne Blythe, Project Ploughshares Coordinator
MANITOBA -- On Saturday, June 13, Winnipeg's annual walk for peace will take place, in a spirit of carnival. It will begin at noon on the grounds of the provincial legislature. After the walk there will be not only an open stage for local musicians, but also several huge "theme tents" and a tent for children. In the "theme tents" there will be speakers and an opportunity for dialogue on the main topics of the Canadian Peace Alliance -- the opposition to Star Wars, and to low-level flight tests, and a comprehensive test ban. William Epstein will be one of the speakers, primarily discussing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
Several members of the Winnipeg Coordinating Committee for Disarmament met with Premier Howard Pauley to discuss his reaction to the contested CF-18 contract. The activists said that they felt it inappropriate for a province that was a Nuclear Weapon Free Zone to try so hard to obtain this contract. On a happier note, in the same meeting it was agreed that signs will be posted on highways to announce Manitoba's status as a NWFZ.
A demonstration was held at Lac de Bonnet in April in memory of the victims of Chernobyl. A large sign was erected there, on a farmer's field, saying "Underground Test Site, 1 Km, turn right." From the farmer's land one can see the shaft of a research laboratory which Atomic Energy of Canada Limited has dug deep into the ground. The work going on there is a program of testing for the storing of nuclear waste. The United States has an interest in this program, since it is believed that, if it succeeds, waste from U.S. reactors will actually be stored in this repository.
All social justice groups, including peace and disarmament groups, are listed in a calendar prepared by the Ideas Centre in Winnipeg. Call 786-2032.
VANCOUVER -- The annual Walk for Peace may have been the most successful ever this year. On a glorious sunny day, Saturday, April 25, a throng of marchers walked together and learned about ongoing disarmament activities. Estimates of the parade's size varied from 60,000 (The Province newspaper) to 70-75,000 (CBC and CTV), to 100,000 by the parade marshals. It may have been the largest march yet, and definitely surpassed the size of last year's group. Also apparent was the changing composition of the group. Far more young people turned out than in previous years. This response was gratifying because the planners intended for the program to give hope to, youth. Public officials have been most cooperative with the walk planners. As in previous years, the City Council and the Vancouver School Board co-sponsored the march. This year, they were joined by the Vancouver Parks Board. Representatives of all three of these municipal branches walked at the head of the parade, along with Frank Kennedy, of End the Arms Race. Mayor Gordon Campbell spoke well, noting that not everyone agrees on all issues, but that on this one position-the need to end the arms race-he is in complete agreement with the sentiments of the peace marchers.
Colorful banners appeared everywhere. An old one, "End the Arms Race-Fund Human Needs" was there before, but this time EAR also had a banner calling for making British Columbia a nuclear weapon free zone, and one that said, "Vote Canada Out of the Arms Race."
One of the most touching group of marchers numbered only about ten. They carried a banner, "ADS Victims to Prevent Nuclear War."
As on several previous occasions when Vancouver was turning out for major peace events, four American destroyers arrived in port. The regularity of their appearance on such occasions has caused speculation that this amounts to more than a coincidence.
Voter peace boxes were set up, which functioned as polling booths, and thousands of enthusiastic young people distributed cards in which people were able to declare their intention of voting for peace in the next elections.
Musical entertainment was provided, and Jean McCutcheon, of the National Board of Project Ploughshares and a Vice-President of End the Arms Race spoke.
Two major campaigns were announced: the Canadian Peace Pledge Campaign and the campaign to make B.C. a nuclear weapon free zone. In reference to the latter campaign, a delegation has arranged to visit the Premier to discuss the matter further.
A group of five children from North Vancouver gave a "peace rap" which concluded with advice to toy manufacturers to make only peace toys. The finale, a most moving presentation, was a talk by a traveling group of Montréal high school youths, Students Against Nuclear Extermination (SAGE), who read a peace pledge together. The mood, which was already high, ended with a genuine empowerment, as all the young listeners felt convinced that it is going to be possible to end the arms race.
NELSON -- The Kootenay Centre for a Sustainable Future sponsored a three-day conference April 10-12, in Nelson, B.C. concerning the Hanford, Washington nuclear reservation, 225 miles south of the city. This "nuclear backyard" conference about Hanford drew together about 250 participants and nine experts-Americans, British, and Canadians-who spoke on the health and environmental effects of nuclear energy and radioactive waste; the connection between uranium mining, nuclear energy and nuclear weapons; and the legal implications of the development of nuclear energy.
The N reactor at Hanford has drawn intense media attention since Chernobyl because of its similarities to the Soviet reactor: It is graphite moderated, watercooled, and has no containment building to prevent radioactive leakage to the environment in the event of an explosion. Because it is much older (24 years versus 10) and its tonnage of fuel is nearly double that at Chernobyl (360 tons versus 200), critics claim it is much more dangerous than the Soviet one. It is currently shut down for $50 million worth of repair, which will be only 60 percent completed when it is due to reopen next summer.
Dr. Alice Stewart, a British epidemiologist who has done extensive research on low-level radiation for the past thirty years and has studied Hanford workers, finding increased incidence of cancer among them, said that radiation, natural or manmade, is a hazard at any level. We don't need to add to the present level.
Dr. William Lawless, a nuclear waste expert and former Department of Energy project engineer, showed to the Nelson audience dramatic slides of the DOE's dumping practices. Taken by DOE contractor Dupont at the Savannah River Plant in South Carolina, where Lawless worked for six years, they showed low-level nuclear waste being dumped in shallow ditches in cardboard boxes. Discontinued in 1985 at the Savannah River Plant (SRP) this practice is apparently still going on at Hanford.
In one instance, Lawless said, the DOE monitored a radioactive cloud from the SRP and found that 700 miles away, it still had not broken. Hanford, it was revealed in 1986, released over 1 million curies of radionucleides between 1945 and 1955. The Washington reservation is located 170 miles from the Canadian border.
Toronto broadcaster and author, Carole Giangrande, (author of The Nuclear North) and author Fred Knelman (Reagan, God and the Bomb, and Nuclear Energy: The Unforgiving Technology) talked about Canada's role in the arms race, by allowing the testing of the cruise (on native land, Giangrande stressed); the manufacture of missile guidance systems at Litton; the building of loading cranes for the Trident submarine in Port Moody, and the selling of uranium to countries not respecting or non-signatory to the Nonproliferation Treaty, e.g. France. "Canada has now become the world leader in uranium production and in 'exporting danger,"' Giangrande said.
Jim Terral, of the Kootenay Nuclear Study Group, opposed uranium mining or exploration in British Columbia. A seven-year moratorium on uranium mining in B.C. was lifted last February to allow mining investments to come to B.C., according to the B.C. government. Terral says that ethical investment companies could be attracted to B.C. if the province had a no-nuclear policy.
Representatives of the Kootenay Centre for a Sustainable Future (KCFN) and the Kootenay Study Group will be testifying at a scoping hearing held by the DOE in Spokane, Washington on May 12, calling for the permanent closure of the N reactor. The KCSF position has been endorsed by the City Council of Nelson (Nelson's mayor Gerald Rotering will attend the hearing in person) and will hopefully get the support of local federal and provincial representatives, M.P. Bob Brisco and Emily Howard Dirks. It is the first time a U.S. military facility has been challenged by a neighboring country. The scoping hearing is to determine whether an environmental impact study should be performed prior to the re-opening of the N reactor.
HALIFAX- Thirty two members of Veterans Against Nuclear Arms (VANA) from across Canada are visiting the USSR and other parts of Europe from April 29- May 21. The first two weeks are being spent in the USSR, meeting with members of the Soviet War Veterans Committee in Moscow, Kiev, Volgograd (Stalingrad), and Leningrad, viewing war memorials, and sightseeing. The third week is being spent at NATO headquarters in Brussels and meeting with members of the Belgian and Dutch peace movements and Ex-Services CND in London.
After their recent lobbying efforts in Ottawa, three members of VANA spoke on CBC's Morningside program in March. Copies of their policy document, Towards a World Without War, Next Steps in Canadian Defence Policy have been sent to all Members of Parliament.
A conference, Alternatives to Arms Industries, sponsored by Citizens for Local Economic Development (CLED), Voice of Women, Project Ploughshares, VANA, and Engineers for Social Responsibility, was held in Halifax April 24-25. The keynote speaker on April 24 was Solanges Vincent, who spoke on "The Human Costs of the War Economy." The discussant was Ralph Surette, a local journalist. Workshops the following day dealt with arms industries as they exist now in Nova Scotia and possible alternatives that can be created by matching needs with available resources.
CLED has recently published it first newsletter, Branchplants, pointing out the increasing dependence of the province on large multinational firm -- including Litton Systems and Pratt and Whitney, which are lured by extravagant government grants at all levels.
ORANGEVILLE-Following the Nuclear Weapon Free Ontario campaign's successful completion, Ontario peace groups have continued to meet to discuss campaign plans, and the possibilities of merging the agendas of groups from around the province. The NWFO follow-up and evaluation meeting, held February 7 in Toronto, resulted in the scheduling of another meeting in Orangeville March 21, with workshops in each of three issue groups: nuclear ships in port, tritium transport and export, and low-level flight testing and training. Caucuses were then called to allow interest groups to discuss the advantages disadvantages of integrating the campaigns, or aspects of them, with a fourth caucus to address the potential for a provincial election campaign. One meeting took place in Orangeville, with approximately forty people present. The consensus was for the groups to proceed with autonomous campaigns, focused on specific issues, in which not all the issues around the province will specifically be linked.
A provincial election campaign is being developed, following a proposal circulated by Operation Dismantle. A leaflet addressing the issues of tritium, nuclear ships, low-level flights and conversion will be used, as will a candidate survey question sheet. Groups met in the Annex Theatre, Bathurst Street United Church, Toronto, on May 3 to adopt a brochure (a draft is being prepared in advance, under the advice of the groups who were in attendance at the Orangeville meeting), and to develop the candidate survey, a logistical agreement, and financing strategy.
TORONTO -- A number of groups, including Greenpeace, Operation Dismantle, Toronto Disarmament Network and Act for Disarmament have indicated their opposition to the visits of nuclear capable ships to Ontario ports, the "neither confirm nor deny" policy of the U.S. and Canada's acceptance of that practice. It has now been confirmed that the frigate Oliver Hazard Perry, which will be on the Great Lakes this summer, and making port visits, will not be carrying nuclear weapons.
As reported in The April / May issue of PEACE, Ontario Hydro plans to truck tritium-laced heavy water from nuclear power plants at Pickering and Bruce to the tritium recovery plant at Darlington, the extremely dangerous contaminant will be removed from the water. Because it is so lethal (one five-hundredth of a gram is fatal, one billionth of a gram will cause cancer), such tritium-contaminated heavy water should not he transported. A tritium campaign will soon be "on stream," focusing on tritium exports and transports, the commercial use of tritium, and the link between nuclear weapons and nuclear power. Campaigning will include lobbying, leafletting, petitioning, a speaking tour, media work and rallies and blockades of tritium trucks when they start rolling.
LONDON-The Ontario Peace Conference has moved to London for 1987, and is being organized by a committee of groups in the city. The conference is being planned for late September. For information or input, contact the Nuclear Awareness Committee, U.S.C., Room 268, U.C.C. Building, University of Western Ontario, London, or telephone Paul Pasternik, 5l9-79-5769. A mailing is scheduled for May.
After several years of focusing public opposition to the development of the cruise missile components, the Cruise Missile Conversion Project has decided to disband. Several of its members are moving away -- to B.C. and to Rome, New York.
CMCP has learned that Litton will likely be getting contracts to work on the MX missile. However, the group's work has had its successes -- notably (by the admission of its own management) CMCP was instrumental in causing the company to be denied the contract for the stealth version of the cruise missile. It was impossible for Litton to carry on its war business in secrecy. There are indications, as well, of workers being affected. While serving a jail sentence for trespassing at Litton, a member of CMCP met a young man whose mother quit her job at Litton directly because of the efforts of CMCP. There has been a tremendous turnover in workers over the years of the leafletting campaign.
Some of the CMCP members remaining in Toronto will work on MPP. Richard Johnston's NWFZ conversion bill. An effort is also being made to establish a long-term Christian presence and resistance at Litton. It is hoped to have an extension in a working-class neighborhood, focussing on the homeless victims of militarism's destructive effects on the economy.
Peace Magazine Jun-Jul 1987, page 40. Some rights reserved.
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