The January edition of the Halifax-based magazine, Atlantic Insight announced its annual "Innovator of the Year Award," shared this year by two people, one of whom was Claris Rudkowski of Happy Valley, Goose Bay. The award is given to persons whose innovative ideas are considered to have helped development in the Atlantic Region. Ms. Rudkowski's innovative idea, as president of her local Chamber of Commerce, was to organize the Mokami Project Group in July 1986, as a counter to the Innu's objections to low level flights, and the peace movement's efforts to prevent the establishment of a NATO base at Goose Bay. Finding military development to be a necessary adjunct to the Labrador economy, she stated, "we found that our very future as a community was being threatened by the British Anti-Slavery Association, Germany's Green Party, Oxfam, the American Sierra Club, and several others. We decided it was time to do something and if that meant taking on these powerful organizations with all their money and resources, then that's what we'd have to do."
What Rudkowski failed to mention, and what apparently Atlantic Insight did not know, was that the Mokami Project Group's fight against "these powerful organizations" was assisted by an initial government grant of $140,000 followed by $500,000 from Federal Minister of Transport, John Crosbie, in September of 1987.
A well known a capella singing group, Four the Moment, was one of the runners up for the award. The group is dedicated to social justice for women and all races, and includes Andrea Currie, who visited the Innu in May of 1985 when she accompanied Betty Peterson of the Quaker Committee for Native Concerns. The Group declined an invitation to the awards dinner. Instead, Andrea and Betty were joined outside in the chilly -12° by about 30 people from local peace and native support groups to protest the award as the diners arrived.
Contracts bringing new defence industry to Nova Scotia: inBridgetown, Atlantic Defence Industries Ltd. (ADIL) has taken over the vacated Acadian distillers plant for production to fulfill (initially) Canadian Armed Forces contracts (1) to produce 421 external fuel tank modification kits for M113A1 armored personnel carriers; and (2) to supply sections of folding, floating bridges. The contracts total about $4.8 million. The enterprise will initially hire 52 people and could eventually employ up to 300, it's said. ADIL received a $1.5 million loan guarantee from the province. (C-H, 1/22/88)
In Lunenburg, 40-year-old ABCO industries has joined with Cellpack Ltd. of Switzerland to form Cellpack Aerospace Ltd. The new company will build a $4.5 million plant to make products out of "advanced composites," a form of fibre-reinforced plastic, for the defence and aerospace industries. Cellpack starts with two contracts to make canisters and housing for ground-to-air ADATS (Air Defence Anti-Tank System) missiles. One contract for 1,000 canisters, according to Vice-president Jim Eisenhauer, is for use in Canadian LLADS (Low Level Air Defence System) units, intended for European deployment. Another 2,000 will go into similar programs (FFADS) ordered by Martin Marietta of Florida for the Pentagon. Mr. Eisenhauer says the canisters can only be used for conventional weaponry.
On December 9, Canadian Press reported that a U.S. Senate subcommittee had refused to fund production on a low-level air defence system to be delivered by Martin Marietta (presumably the same weapon) "until the system can pass tests under simulated battlefield conditions." Asked about the report, Mr. Eisenhauer said their contract and production plans were not affected.
The Halifax Lawyers for Social Responsibility sent a strong remonstrance against the cold war mentality evident in the White Paper to Prime Minister Mulroney. The Lawyers offered a carefully reasoned proposal "that the House of Commons Standing Committee on National Defence conduct in-depth hearings across Canada to elicit reactions from Canadians on the White Paper," comparable to hearings given Canada's international relations, tax reform, broadcast policy and child benefits. Since Mulroney's response was only a put-off -- he referred the letter to Perrin Beatty -- the lawyers are pushing an active letter campaign, asking M.P.s and especially defence critics Doug Frith, Liberal, and Derek Blackburn, NDP, to press for open public debate on the DND program.
The Veterans against Nuclear Arms have mounted still another major response. Over the past six months VANA has developed its own alternative White Paper, "The Defence of Canada," available from the VANA office, 1223 Barrington St., Halifax B3J 1Y2. Their paper will be given wide distribution among government officials and politicians, VANA members and veterans' organizations. Also, a delegation of VANA members met with Beatty in Ottawa in February to present key arguments for modifications in his defence policy.
"The United Nations: Peacemaker and Peacekeeper" is a national conference scheduled for June 4 - 6 in Halifax. Sponsors are VANA's Defence Research and Education Centre, Henson College of Dalhousie University, the United Nations Association of Canada, and the Voice of Women. Conference organizers hope that those attending, working with a distinguished roster of speakers, panel members and workshop coordinators, will generate ideas leading to new Canadian initiatives in the organization of peace. The key objectives: to develop a practical system of common security to be exercised through the United Nations, capable of replacing war as the ultimate regulator of international affairs. People present will try to determine effective criteria for such a system and propose a Canadian supporting role. The conference will be held during the June 4 annual meeting of the United Nations Association of Canada, at the Student Union, Dalhousie University.
This is my debut as B.C. correspondent. B.C. activists, forgive me if I have neglected to mention your activities. For future issues, please mail to: Alan Wilson, RR#1, Site 17, Gabriola Island, B.C. V0R 1X0 (247~858) by the 1st of every even-numbered month (April 1, July 1, etc.).
eye to acquiring an area research facility like Whiteshell. To date the area has not dealt with 100 - 200 tons of low level waste. Contact Lloyd Greenspoon (705) 282-2485.
Peace groups across Canada joined forces on February 19 for the latest Peace Pledge Campaign action. "The Real Cruise Test," a national public opinion poll, took place in 32 Canadian cities on the day of the first cruise missile test of 1988. While the U.S. tested the cruise in Canada's North, peace groups tested the public about whether they thought the tests should continue. Ballot boxes were set up in front of post offices, local city halls, and constituency offices, on street corners, subway stations, in high schools, and in local grocery stores.
The Calgary Disarmament Coalition did its "cruise test" of the business community in the morning rush hour. In the Northwest Territories, Nuclear Free North set up ballot boxes at the Yellowknife post office in 23 below zero weather. (Despite the cold, they polled 193 people, with 170 saying no to cruise tests.) Kelowna registered votes by giving out different colored helium balloons to people who supported or opposed the tests. The most organized poll took place on Vancouver Island where the Vancouver Island Network for Disarmament conducted a random-sample telephone poll. Eighty-two percent of 11,088 people polled said they wanted the tests to end. Although some peace groups did a scientific Sampling, most groups publicized that the test was not meant to be scientific. "We already knew from the polls taken by Angus Reid and other national pollsters that the public massively opposes the tests," explained Yvonne Stanford, of Calgary. "The government is ignoring the depth of feeling around this issue. The public is going to have a chance to show how it feels about this government in the poll that really matters - the federal election."
Dr. Helen Caldicott, who has probably involved more people in the peace movement that any single person, has decided to tour Canada in April in support of the Peace Pledge Campaign. Her tour, "Making Canada a World Leader for Peace" will visit nine Canadian cities from Newfoundland to Victoria. She will speak on such topics as the Defence White Paper and the unique role we can play in averting nuclear war. See the Peace Calendar, page 23.
Between now and the federal election, participating groups are gearing up to lobby their M.P.s and other federal candidates as they are declared. Some groups are choosing to focus their lobbying and voter pledge collection work in swing ridings -constituencies where the incumbent won by 2,000 votes or less. Their aim is to gather the equivalent number or more voter pledges, and to pressure politicians to alter their policies. Peace groups are meeting with M.P.s now to introduce them to the campaign and to let them know the numbers of pledges collected so far, and the target for pledges in the riding.
Closer to the election, a peace survey will be available for groups to give their local candidates, to pin down precisely where they stand on defence issues. Copies of the survey will be sent to those who sign voter pledge cards, so they'll know which candidates support peace and will be able to vote accordingly. The Peace Pledge Campaign is facilitated by the Canadian Peace Alliance. To locate the peace group sponsoring the campaign in your area, contact the CPA office at (416) 588-5555.