For four-and-one-half months, Halifax Peace Pledge Campaign activists collected 5,672 pledges in the three metro ridings, Halifax, Halifax West, and Dartmouth. They gave the campaign's twelve-point candidates' questionnaire to those running in the ridings, printed up the responses and, in the last weeks of the campaign, hand-delivered more than 5,000 copies to pledge signers, reminding them of the pledge they'd taken and the importance of the issues.
It's hard to prove anything about the effectiveness of door-to-door electioneering. But in the main city riding, 2,984 voters signed the Peace Pledge. Liberal Mary Clancy gave a strong positive response to the questionnaire (9 out of 12 YES answers); 3,200 of the questionnaire responses were distributed to voters in her riding, and in a surprise upset, Mary won by 2,591 votes over incumbent P.C. Stewart McInnis, whose tally was 10 NOs, 2 YESs.
Canadian Peace Alliance's "Pin the Dollar" game was played with mall shoppers in Halifax and Bridgewater, N.S., gaining much attention and publicity. Presented with a large display panel headlined "SUBS" on one side and "SOCIAL NEEDS" on the other, with appropriate sub-titles and art work, citizens were asked to pin play-dollars where they'd rather have their tax dollars go. In the Halifax displays, the vote was 673 for social needs, 42 for subs. In Bridgewater, shoppers voted 216 for social needs, 19 for subs.
Tours to China and the USSR
Tours of understanding to the two communist giants are planned for spring. A 24-day trip to China, May 9 - June 1, will be devoted to exploring the country's educational system. Tour leader and instructor is Ruth Gamberg, Associate Professor of Education at Dalhousie University and author of Red and Expert: Education in the People's Republic of China. Professor Gamberg has lived in China and taught at the Beijing Foreign Studies University. For more information, reach her at Dalhousie University (902/ 424-3838).
The 37-cent Solution
New Brunswick's Project Ploughshares maintains a busy Peace Centre for members, other organizations, and the public, in space donated by a shopping mall in downtown Saint John. It is staffed by volunteers and, for a limited time, by a paid worker financed through a government grant. Recently they sent samples of literature to members, asking them to spread the pieces around as much as possible, as an extension of the Centre's educational mission: "Put one in with your next payment to the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker. Slip one in with your Christmas cards, in letters to friends, etc.... Add some propaganda whenever you have to buy that 37 cent stamp!"
Fishermen for Peace
The largest groundfish stock in the ocean off the Maritimes is silver hake. The fish have hitherto been caught mainly by the Soviets and Cubans, and neglected by Canadian fishermen because, according to one industry official, "It costs too much to catch and too much to process." Now, in a hands-across-the-sea project, Soviet fishermen and fish scientists are working with Canadian counterparts on joint research on the hake, through which the Canadians hope to make it a profitable catch for them in the future.
The British Columbia Peace Conference, last October, was timed perfectly: the federal election call came the same morning as it got underway. Much of the conference was devoted to election planning. The federal election and the Canadian Peace Pledge Campaign dominated the B.C. peace scene for most of the autumn. All of the people who worked so hard to get peace issues before the candidates and the public deserve a big thank-you!
"Tourism: A Vital Force for Peace" was the title of a global conference, the first of its kind, held in Vancouver from Oct. 23-27. Some of the workshops included: The Relationship between Tourism Development and Peace; The Tourist Traveller as Peacemaker; Peace Parks; The Connections between the Sustainable Uses of the Environment; the Role of the Community; Development and Tourist Activity; and Tourism and International Understanding.
Youth peace activists from the Comox Valley and Campbell River held a Peace Leadership Skills Conference, last October, on Quadra Island. Developing meeting skills and media skills were among the workshops offered.
In November, a faithful group of Victoria peace workers celebrated a milestone anniversary. Every Wednesday for the past five years, they've held a peace vigil in downtown Victoria.
Peace studies at the college level continued this fall on Vancouver Island, through the commitment and energy of peace workers in Nanimo and Port Alberni. In Nanaimo, as well as local peace activists giving papers on Perestroika and Terrorist Violence, guest lecturers have included Dr.Fred Knelman, Ernie Regehr, Dr. Mary Wynne-Ashford, Bob Hackett, Terry Padgham, and Allan Warnke. In Port Alberni, a series of four sessions looked at many aspects of the global environment and the threats to its survival.
Some other significant happenings round and about: the Comox Valley was declared a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone; a mid-island chapter of Veterans Against Nuclear Arms has been formed; and the Denman Island Peace Group continues to monitor, research and lobby against low-level flight training in B.C. air space.
The Canadian Nuclear Free and Independent Network meeting is scheduled for April 14-16 in the Vancouver area. The Peace Poster Contest, sponsored by the Vancouver Museum, End the Arms Race, and Veterans Against Nuclear Arms, for the secondary schools in the Vancouver area, will have a show at the Museum from Feb.10 to April 6.
Youth peace groups from coast to coast continue to work on innovative projects. Since November 1987, a group called PATCHES has been sowing peace in the hearts of the people of Kingston, Ontario. This summer they organized a peace festival which brought the community together for a day of speakers, education, cooperative games, musicians, and much more. PATCHES plans to make the event an annual occurrence. The funds raised by the festival are now being used to help the construction of a health centre and irrigation system in Mozambique. Members of PATCHES are giving workshops at local libraries.
In Tecumseh, Ontario, a youth group called Peace Links People (PLP) has been active for the past two years. Young people in Victoria, B.C. have established a Youth for Global Awareness resource centre. Youth groups across the country worked with adult peace groups on the Canadian Peace Pledge Campaign. Last May, students from across B.C. joined in Vancouver to participate in the Youth for Global Awareness Conference. The three-day conference was a tremendous success and a youth committee is already working on next year's conference.
The International Youth for Peace and Justice Tour recently finished another round of successful tours visiting Canadian high schools. This year, for the first time, IYPJT included a five-week tour of the Canadian North.
To keep up with the Canadian youth peace movement, subscribe (at $10) to the Paper Crane, 555 Bloor St. W., Toronto M5S 1Y6. Donations are welcome and needed.