In June Peter MacKay, minister of national defence and minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, announced that Thinkers' Lodge in Pugwash, Nova Scotia has been designated a National Historical Place. Thinkers' Lodge was a meeting place for those who built bridges between several countries on both sides of the Iron Curtain during the Cold War. The former summer home of businessman Cyrus Eaton, it was where the Pugwash movement for nuclear disarmament began.
Sources: Canadian Press, Thomson's Good News
Italy's major daily newspaper, Corriere della Sera, has published a groundbreaking op-ed signed by five leading figures in Italian politics. Italian NGOs welcomed the initiative, but suggested a number of actions Italy could take immediately, including questioning the proposed India-US nuclear agreement and, with other European countries, freezing developments of nuclear missile defence in Eastern Europe.Meanwhile, the US Conference of Mayors unanimously adopted a resolution recommending that the US Government "urgently consider" the Hiroshima-Nagasaki Protocol as a means of "fulfilling the promise of the Non-Proliferation Treaty by the year 2020." The resolution also encourages participation in Mayors for Peace activities at the NPT's Preparatory Committee in 2009.
Sources: Jackie Cabasso and Thomson's Good News
In recent months, several US war resisters in Canada have been ordered to leave the country. Some have done so.
US Iraq war resister Jeremy Hinzman was told on 16 August that his family's application to stay in Canada had been rejected. Hinzman was told that he did not qualify under Canada's Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (PRRA) program following a review by a Department of Citizenship and Immigration officer.
On 15 July, the Canadian government deported Robin Long, another US soldier who refused to serve in Iraq. Long was sentenced to 15 months of confinement and dishonorable discharge. He was given the maximum time of confinement negotiated in a pre-trial agreement, despite the testimony of several supporters. The sentence stands as one of the longest handed to an Iraq War resister.
Canada is home to an estimated 200 US soldiers refusing to serve in the Iraq War, and 64 percent of Canadians favor granting them permanent residence, according to a June Angus Reid poll.
The House of Commons passed a non-binding resolution 3 June, calling for a stop to the deportation of US soldiers and allowing them to apply for permanent residency in Canada (see Peace, July-Sept 2008) but the resolution was ignored by the minority Harper administration.
Source: War Resisters' International
According to the 2007 World Values Report of the University of Michigan, a global poll of 350,000 people in 98 countries, happiness is increasing! Why? Three reasons were given: the highest rate of economic growth ever; 2) expansion of democracy, and 3) more gender equality, greater tolerance of foreigners, gays and lesbians. The happiest: the Danes; least happy: Zimbabweans. Canadians ranked ninth.
Sources: The Globe and Mail and Thomson's Good News
More than 10,000 people in India have signed up to pledge at least two hours a week to teach a child in their neighbourhood. Volunteers include doctors, lawyers, artists, writers, educationists, retired folk and college students. "With a population of over 287 million illiterates," wrote the Times of India, "we need motivated teachers in every corner of the country to go back to school..."
Sources: The Times of India and Thomson's Good News
The Federation of American Scientists reported that 110 B61 tactical nuclear weapons have been withdrawn from the Lakenheath Air Base in the UK. The Pugwash international office welcomed the news and called for the removal of all of NATO's nuclear warheads in the five European countries of Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Italy and Turkey.
Sources: Bev Delong and Thomson's Good News
Up-to-date profiles of all Canada's 308 federal ridings can be seen at the new voteforenvironment.ca website. The objective of the site is to encourage "smart" voting on environmental issues, particularly in marginal ridings where the anti-Conservative vote is in danger of splitting.