Peace is Undemocratic?

As a member of Conscience Canada, I wrote to the late finance minister, James Flaherty, that there needs to be an act of legislation passed to allow the portions of tax dollars used for military purposes to be used for peaceful purposes instead—for example, to establish a Department of Peace.

Flaherty replied that this would be undemocratic. Harper has the largest cabinet in Canada’s history, so how could establishing a Department of Peace be undemocratic?

I have sent Mr Payne, my MP, many letters about peace and stopping the increasing militarism which we now have in Canada. After many letters, his first and only reply blames Putin.

Nellie Spicer
Walsh, Alberta

What is Climate Fast?

CLIMATE FAST is a volunteer initiative that asks members of parliament to pledge work toward three simple changes: to end fossil fuel subsidies, put a price on carbon, and develop a renewable energy plan for Canada. So far 117 MPs have signed this pledge. Most NDP MPs, many Liberals, and both Green Party members have signed. However we do not have the support of either the NDP or the Liberal Party leaders. In this third year of the campaign we ask you to urge your MPs and those who contest the federal election in 2015 to sign this pledge so that we can expect the newly formed government to take quick action to curb carbon emissions.

Climate Fast also invites those who wish to fast one day per month (the first of the month) in conjunction with an international fast started by Yeb Sano of the Philippines during the Warsaw talks. This puts climate first on the first of eachmonth. Join us for a vigil on Parliament Hill from Sept 28 to October 2 or for a vigil on October 1 in your community to send the message that we expect Parliament to curb carbon emissions.

To find out whether your MP has signed or not, please check our website, www.climatefast.ca, and urge your MP to pledge support, or send your thanks. You can also urge the party leaders to support these three simple changes. Working together we can make a difference.

Lyn Adamson

Divestment Spreads

The US student movement for divestment from companies complicit with Israeli occupation continues to gather pace as students at Wesleyan University in Connecticut vote to divest the student assembly’s investment funds from companies supporting Israel’s military occupation in Palestine

Motions calling on universities to divest were recently passed at University of California at Riverside and the University of New Mexico. Meanwhile a petition has been signed by more than 10,000 students calling on the University of South Florida to divest, making it the largest student petition in Florida’s history.

The student union at the University of Kent in the southeast of England is to terminate its contract with G4S following an outcry over its role in human rights abuses in Palestine. The decision follows a March vote in favor of BDS at the University of Dundee.

Luxembourg’s state pension fund has excluded nine major Israeli banks and firms and one US company because of their involvement in Israeli settlements and human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territories. The move follows similar steps taken by other major financial institutions, including the Dutch pensions giant PGGM and Norway’s state pension fund. New research suggests that as many as one in seven Dutch institutional investors have excluded companies involved in the Israeli occupation of Palestine in the course of the last five years.

Published by Palestinian BDS National Committee: info@bdsmovement.net

Betty Reardon
Columbia University

The Cost of War

The global costs of war in 2012 were about $9.46 trillion. That would debit every child, woman and man on this planet $1,300—that’s only for one year!

There have been 2,314 American soldiers killed and 19,701 wounded in Afghanistan. Canadian military deaths were 158, with over 2,000 wounded. When former US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was asked how many “enemy” military or civilians the US forces killed in the Middle East, he replied, “We do not do body counts.” However, we do know that during the US war against Iraq, about one million Iraqi citizens were displaced, wounded or killed.

Leo Kurtenbach

Peace Magazine Jul-Sep 2014

Peace Magazine Jul-Sep 2014, page 5. Some rights reserved.

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