By Valerie Osborne, Sheena Lambert, Shirley Farlinger, Simon Rosenblum, Margot Trevelyan | 1986-12-01 12:00:00


International Year of Peace


A $100 gold coin has been minted to mark the International Year of Peace and as Canada's gift to the Secretary General of the United Nations. It was designed by peace activist Dora DePedery-Hunt, a famous medallionist. The design is of maple leaves and an olive branch with the words "peace" and "paix." It contains one-half ounce of gold and retails for $325 plus seven percent sales tax, through the mint.

City of Toronto IYP Events:

Radio Peace Bridge

K.I.N.D. stands for Kitimat (B.C.) Involvement in Nuclear Disarmament. This group has taken up a special project for the United Nations Year of Peace. The group has sent tape recordings to Radio Moscow, which have been broadcast world-wide in English. Replies on short wave radio are being made and sent, on tape, to Kitimat. The first reply was from the mayor and city council of a small Soviet city, Puschino, which is 100 km south of Moscow. Before 1986 is over, K.I.N.D. hopes to establish by radio a regular "Peace Bridge" linking Kitimat to two sister cities, Puschino, and Rialto, California. The citizens of Kitimat are invited to participate in the recording sessions. Call 604/ 632-7039 for information.

IYP is Almost Over. What Next?

IYP will be remembered for the icy ending to the Iceland Summit and the charge by Gorbachev that the U.S. is contin- uing the arms race in order to bankrupt Russia. Ironically, 1986 is the year Japan became the world's leading creditor nation, while the U.S. is increasingly a debtor nation. It will also be the year Russia stopped nuclear testing while the U.S. continued. Americans may remember 1986 as the year Gorbachev refused to see the logic of the Strategic Defense Initiative (Star Wars). For the 90 percent who make up the remainder of the world, 1986 will be just a continuation of the slide in living standards while a record $1 trillion was spent on arms.

More Nuclear Weapon Free Zones in IYP

This year has also seen an increase in the number of communities in Canada designated nuclear weapon free (NWFZ). The land area already NWF is estimated at 32 percent because Manitoba and the Northwest Territories have passed this legislation. If Ontario succeeds in its campaign, this would increase Canada's NWFZ to 43 percent.

Anne Williams of the Canadian Federation of University Women writes, "On October 6 our City Council, on the recommendation of the Special Council Committee on Peace, declared Lethbridge a NWFZ. The vote was unanimous. We are the first major city in Alberta to become a NWFZ; the only other town in this province is Didsbury, a small town north of Calgary." This vote came immediately after their most successful annual Walk for Peace and Rally, attended by 400 people.



When you're leading the troops down the road, says Pat Clancy of the Metropolitan Toronto Labour Council, it's a good idea to look over your shoulder and make sure there's someone following. Clancy, speaking at a meeting organized by the Toronto Peace Association, was referring to the lack of participation by rank and file trade unionists in peace movement activities.

The meeting featured such well-known trade union leaders as Grace Hartman, former President of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), Duncan MacDonald from the Ontario Federation of Labour, and Murray Randall, recently appointed Peace Coordinator of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC). The Canadian Peace Alliance and the Toronto Disarmament Network were ably represented by Bob Penner and Wendy Wright.

Support by union bodies for peace has never been lacking. Grace Hartman recalled being heavily involved in the Ban the Bomb movement of the Fifties and resolutions passed by CUPE condemning American intervention in Vietnam. Both Murray Randall and Duncan MacDonald read off a long list of resolutions passed at OFL and CLC conventions calling for arms control agreements and nuclear weapons free zones. But all agreed that these sincere commitments had not resulted in the offices of peace groups being overcrowded with union members. The exception was the Peace Petition Caravan, carried out jointly by the Canadian Labour Congress and Canadian peace movements. Penner found the CLC's contribution invaluable, despite the problems of the campaign, because the CLC was able to lend its "financial and political clout to an embryonic national peace movement. Without the CLC," says Penner, "the Peace Petition Caravan would never have happened."

Wright remembers gaining tremendous organization skills as a result of the joint campaign. "If you can organize thousands of diverse individuals into a trade union, you can organize anything," she says. The labor movement also gained. Working alongside trade union members on a peace campaign helped to break down the stereotype promoted by the media that unionists are always out for themselves.

But unionists do have other concerns, most of which must be addressed in long meetings after a hard day's work while the family complains you're not at home enough. One more meeting a week, with responsibilities in between, can be the straw that breaks the camel's back.

Nuts and Bolts of Unionism--to Women

Madeleine Parent, herself a trade union leader since 1941, once spoke to a group of trade union women who were complaining that the men in the union did not actively support their demands for equal pay, child care, maternity leave, and other issues of concern to women. After reassuring them of the justice of their demands, Parent reminded them that the only time they came to union meetings was to ask for support on women's issues. Rarely were they seen assuming their share of the very unexciting but essential union business of fighting for job security, no lay offs, sick leave, and all the other nuts and bolts of trade union survival. As a result, the men didn't see them as fellow trade unionists standing shoulder to shoulder through good times and bad. Nor were their demands seen as "trade union" demands but rather as feminist demands imposed on the rest of the bargaining unit.

Free Trade and the Peace Movement

Peace activists, always over-extended with never enough people to do the work, risk putting themselves in a similar position. Too often the only time the unions hear from the peace movement is when help is needed from the unions. Given that the labor movement is far older, richer, and more organized than the relatively small peace organizations, such a relationship is not surprising. Peace groups could, however, demonstrate solidarity with the trade union movement in ways that require very little expenditure of scarce human and financial resources. Including CLC literature on the Campaign Against Free Trade is not inconsistent with the need for the Canadian peace movement to keep this country as independent from the U.S. as possible. To what extent would free trade result in a North American defence industry even more homogenous than it already is?

Posting in their offices leaflets advocating the boycott of Gainers (Swift) meat products would show solidarity with the Gainers workers in Alberta who are fighting for the survival of their union. If union involvement is crucial to the peace movement, then so is union survival.

Pat Clancy referred to the infamous Lavigne case, perhaps the labor issue most directly related to the peace movement. Mervyn Lavigne, with the help of the ultra-conservative National Citizen's Coalition, successfully sued his union, the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU), charging that under the Charter of Rights, unions have no right spending union dues on anything other than strictly collective bargaining issues. Campaigns that Lavigne doesn't want his union dues spent on included NDP elections, opposition to extra billing by doctors, and peace activities such as the Peace Petition Caravan and the Cruise Missile Conversion Project.

The labor movement is reeling from the decision, which is now being appealed. The public, which has benefitted from such "nonbargaining unit" campaigns as pensions, unemployment insurance, minimum wage, and a mountain of other social initiatives, should also be concerned.

Explaining the relevance of the Lavigne case to peace activists through literature and in speeches extends the hand of friendship once more to the labor movement and serves the interests of peace. Meetings like that organized by the Toronto Association for Peace are vital to continuing the lines of communication opened by the Peace Petition Caravan. Let's hope we see more of them. The author is Pay Equity Coordinator, Canadian Un-ion of Public Employees.



At the Second Annual B.C. Peace Conference in September, peace groups launched a campaign to end British Columbia's involvement in the arms race. The campaign has two parts, which will be carried out simultaneously. The first part deals with getting the province declared a nuclear weapons free zone by the Legislative Assembly. The second part deals with researching how this province contributes to the nuclear arms race-from allowing warships into our waters, to allowing companies to take military contracts--and then educating the public and applying pressure on a political level to end all British Columbian participation in the arms race.

Part One: Peace groups throughout B. C. have agreed to lobby their municipal governments to get them to sign a petition to the Legislative Assembly which asks that the entire province be given NWFZ status. As 46 municipalities in B.C. are already nuclear weapons free zones, and well over half the population of B.C. lives in These zones, this tactic should create a strong lobby for getting the entire province declared a nuclear weapons free zone. End the Arms Race and Vancouver City Council's Special Commit-tee on Peace have produced a resource kit explaining how peace groups can lobby their civic governments to get support of the petition. This kit has gone out to 150 peace and peace-supporting organizations in the province. The kit includes instructions on how to get councillors to sign the petition; a sample motion to councils; a list of B.C.'s NWFZs; and a 13-page booklet entitled Cities and Disarmament, which explains why peace is a municipal issue.

Part Two: The second tactic for working to comprehensively disarm British Columbia is for B.C. peace groups to keep track of, and share information on, the ways in which this province contributes to the nuclear arms race. According to Project Ploughshares, there are twelve nuclear weapons support facilities in the province, ranging from surveillance stations which in some cases contribute relatively little to the nuclear arms race to the extremely destabilizing underwater weapons testing going on at Nanoose Bay. As well as analyzing these facilities, the NWFZ Campaign will focus on the hazards of warship visits, and the changes in U.S. nuclear strategy that have made these visits more frequent. The information that peace groups gather will be publicized through the B.C. Peace Resource and information Network, which sends out a monthly information bulletin.

For more information on the B.C., P.R.I.N., contact the End the Arms Race office, 1708 W. 16th Avenue, Vancouver V61 2M1.)

Electing Peace: The Federal Campaign

The Peace Voter Pledge Campaign asks voters to consider only those politicians who support an end to Canadian involvement in the arms race with words and actions. It has continued to gain momentum throughout B.C. this fall. peace groups around the province--from Fort St. John to Campbell River--have jumped on board the campaign. They are requesting more pledge cards, asking for information on how to set up nonpartisan peace committees, and working to organize door to door pledge card canvasses. End the Arms Race and the Coalition of Riding committees organized a successful door to door canvass in 10 Lower Mainland ridings this fall. Donations continue to pay for all campaign costs and delegates to the Canadian Peace Alliance annual convention voted to make facilitating the campaign a priority for the CPA. For more information on the campaign, contact EAR, 1708 W. 16th, Vancouver V6J 2M1. Phone 736-2366.

Phil Esmonde announces plans for the annual meeting of the Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific Support Network, which will convene at Camp Alexandra, in White Rock, B.C. on February 13-15. This will be an organizers meeting and will plan strategy for upcoming campaigns. Contact Marilyn Chrystal, 4830 Rupert Street, Vancouver V5R 2J7 for accommodations, transport.

Canadian Peace Alliance



The Canadian Peace Alliance (CPA) held its second annual conference in Winnipeg--Canada's only provincial nuclear weapon free zone--during the final weekend in October. Although there was the occasional firecracker, "trick or treating" did not pervade the meeting.

The Late Mandate Debate

One ghost, however, whose presence permeated the conference was the CPA original constitution, which clearly spelled out the CPA's role as a networking one--the CPA being an internal instrument of its member groups for the purpose of enhancing their activity. As the convention commenced, it was widely known that efforts were underway to stretch the CPA's mandate so that it would be able to wage national campaigns in its own name. The convention was clearly divided on what purposes member organizations wanted the CPA to serve, and the convention seemed headed toward an impasse. Fortunately, both sides were interested in compromise and four persons from each position met and came up with a revised statement, which was almost unanimously accepted on the convention floor. The compromise, on one hand, clarified how the CPA could assist member groups in their national campaigns while, on the other hand, clearly identifying sponsorship of national campaigns as belonging to the member groups. This strictly limits the CPA's public role to its facilitating function. The result, therefore, reaffirmed the existing mandate, in that the CPA does not become a public voice for the peace movement. Yet it also strengthens the means by which the CPA can assist its members in national campaigns.

The other major constitutional question debated was whether or not political parties would be admitted as members of the CPA. Their inclusion was defeated, as it was felt that there was an essential difference between a political party and a social movement.

Star Wars, CTB Top Priority

After resolving its constitutional debates, the conference was then able to get down to its essential business: the discussion of the disarmament campaign underway or proposed by member groups and the selection and prioritizing of these for formal facilitation by the CPA. As workshops proceeded and fed into plenary sessions, it quickly became clear that the major proposals related to campaigns on (1) Star Wars and the Comprehensive Test Ban; (2) Canada as a nuclear weapon free zone; (3) stopping low -level bomber flight testing over Canadian territory; and (4) Peace Voter 88--a comprehensive approach leading up to the next federal election. The delegates were strongly supportive of all these campaigns but gave top priority for CPA to facilitate a Star Wars-CTB campaign, closely followed by Peace Voter 88. Much thought, work, and coordination will be necessary across the country if these campaigns are to be effective.

Bossin's Home Remedy for Nuclear War

Not all the conference was strictly business. Besides attending a wide range of skill and issue workshops, the delegates also had opportunity to meet informally with one another and share experiences and insights. The Saturday night banquet, featuring Premier Howard Pawley as a guest speaker, provided a most welcome opportunity for relaxation, conversation, and entertainment. Popular entertainer Bob Bossin performed his own one-person show "Home Remedy for Nuclear War," which was widely enjoyed, with the exception of those who took offence that Bossin pointedly holds both superpowers to account.

Canada Waffles on the Five Questions

Probably the most enthusiastic applause was given to three Swedes who are touring Canada as part of the Great Peace Joumey. The main object of this international effort is to put five questions to all U.N. countries about their willingness to adhere to peaceful policies. The Canadian government replied to their questions without giving either yes or no answers-the great Canadian way! As our Swedish friends reminded us: "War is not a product of human instincts. War is organized. Peace also must be organized."

Peace Magazine Dec 1986-Jan 1987

Peace Magazine Dec 1986-Jan 1987, page 42. Some rights reserved.

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