By Joan Geurts, Laurie MacBride | 1990-02-01 12:00:00

Founding of World Council for Global Cooperation

TORONTO-An impressive array of diplomats, scientists, and other distinguished persons attended the founding convention of the World Council for Global Cooperation, November 25-26. The keynote speaker, Nobel Laureate George Wald, stressed the interdependence of several grave global problems, particularly the crushing debt of Third World Nations. On the following day, the participants endorsed a very idealistic proposal developed by James Nicholas, President of the St. Catharines Chapter of the United Nations Association. The Global Plan stresses that time is short for finding positive solutions to the five most pressing world problems, the environmental crisis, hunger and poverty, violence and conflict, social injustice, and human rights violations.

Such problems are being discussed every day all over the world, but Mr. Nicholas confronted those attending the convention with a challenge-to give unstintingly of their time and energy to promote comprehensive programs to provide answers. Many ideas were proposed through panel discussions in areas which these present felt needed immediate attention. The urgency of spreading information and motivation for the preservation of the planet is the reason for the establishment of another organization that, unfortunately, runs the risk of duplicating the efforts of other groups.

Chinese Delegation Visits Canada

TORONTO-Three members of the Chinese People's Association for Peace and Disarmament toured Canada for two weeks in October and November. They represent the largest non-governmental organization in China, which was founded in 1985. The visit of Mr. Chen Jifeng (Coordinator), Madame Tan Yaxiu, and Miss Huang Zhen repaid a visit by staff members of the Canadian Peace Alliance. They noted that China's armed forces have been reduced by one million men, and military spending has declined in one decade from 17 percent to 8 percent of GNP. China no longer conducts atmospheric nuclear tests but will continue testing underground as long as the superpowers do the same, said the visitors.

Activism Under Attack


NANAIMO-On November 2, three Nanoose Conversion Campaign members-Norman Abbey, Brian Stedman, and I, were forcibly removed from a Conservative rally in Nanaimo, searched, arrested, jailed for about two hours, then released with no charges. Our crime? Being "activists."

The rally had been advertised as a public meeting, but Conservatives and the RCMP cooperated to make it a Tory-only affair. P.C. supporters were bussed in from the campaign of the Vancouver Tory candidate Kim Campbell, all expenses paid, to stack the meeting. Mulroney's TV image was at stake, so RCMP sanitized the gathering by barring all who might have protested or asked awkward questions.

When we were seized, we were standing quietly among hundreds of people, awaiting the arrival of Mulroney and Tory candidate Ted Schellenberg. We wanted to question the Prime Minister on why seven U.S. nuclear-capable warships were at Nanoose Bay. We carried a small pennant that said "Another Canadian for Nuclear-Free Harbours," which we planned to display when Mulroney arrived. Just before his arrival, a local Tory worker pointed me out as an "activist," and the police swiftly removed all three of us. Searched and found to be carrying nothing more threatening than the pennant, we were taken off to jail anyway. Brian and Norm were held in the drunk tank, and I was put in a cell. About two hours later, we were released with no charges.

This was not the first such incident at a Mulroney rally. A similar one occurred in Toronto in October, when two members of the Toronto Disarmament Network were jailed for asking Mulroney about defence issues. Several other people have been held, including some wanting to raise the issue of free trade; no charges have been laid in these cases.

We have launched a suit against the RCMP officers and Tory workers involved in the Naniamo incident and the Solicitor-General. We are suing for false arrest, assault and battery, false imprisonment, and breach of our rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (in particular, the right of freedom of association-to be present in a public place). But while the legal case looks very favorable and moral support is pouring in, we need money. None of us can afford to pursue this case on our own; though our lawyer is generously donating his time, there are other expenses. If you can, please send a cheque to "Nanaimo Civil Liberties Suit." Write to P.O. Box 122, Gabriola Island, B.C., V0R 1X0 or call 604/247-8670.

Addendum: Schellenberg lost his seat and the new NDP M.P., Dave Stupich, has said the Nanaimo Tory rally turned the election around and gave him his victory! Schellenberg solidly supported continuation of the Canada/ U.S. Nanoose agreement.

Peace Magazine Feb-Mar 1989

Peace Magazine Feb-Mar 1989, page 29. Some rights reserved.

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