Engaging the Public in the Global Day of Action on Military Spending

It was a cold and windy April day, when NSVOW members and supporters engaged the public in an activity about public spending where people passing by in front of Halifax Central Library put four quarters (supplied by NSVOW) into jars labeled:

  • ARTS & CULTURE
  • ENVIRONMENT
  • HEALTH & EDUCATION
  • MILITARY
  • PEACE
  • WOMEN & CHILDREN

It was evident that people took the exercise very seriously as they contemplated how to distribute their quarters.

They were then invited to fill out a poster “If I had 1.75 trillion dollars (the approximate amount of world-wide annual military spending) I would #movemilitarythemoney to _____.”

Results:

  • Health and Education:  73
  • Environment: 64
  • Environment:  64
  • Women and Children:  52
  • Arts and Culture:  36
  • Peace:  36
  • Military:  2

One area that several people mentioned that was not covered by our jars was affordability of living (housing and food). We will take that into account when we design next year’s action for the Global Day of Action on Military Spending.

For more information check out http:// demilitarize.org

GDAMS 2019

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Global Day of Action on Military Spending: Halifax Votes!

GLOBAL DAY OF ACTION ON MILITARY SPENDING (GDAMS)
Held annually in April, NSVOW joined thousands of people around the world in calling for reallocation of Military budgets to social and humanities needs.
The local event was held outside the Central Library and provided the public with an opportunity to choose where they  want their tax dollars spent by placing a provided quarter in the jar of their  choice.  Here’s how people voted:
Health & education:     31%
Environment                 24%
Women & Children      18%
Peace                              13%
Arts & Culture               11%
Military                           3%

Since 1997, the Canadian military budget has climbed from $8 billion to $23 billion. The federal government spends more on DND than any other department. (See Public Accounts graph below.)

graph1

Source: Public Accounts of Canada, 2015: http://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/recgen/cpc-pac/2015/pdf/2015-vol2-eng.pf

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See more event photos in Gallery.

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An open letter to Canada’s political leaders

Click HERE and sign our letter to Canada’s political leaders

The Canadian Voice of Women for Peace is the country’s oldest, national peace organization. We are concerned about the rise of militarism in our communities, increased arms sales overseas, and Canadian Forces’ airstrikes in the Middle East. We want Canada to Make Space for Peace and to be a leader in diplomacy, international law, nonviolence and disarmament. This election, please pledge your support for our peace priorities and after the election work with us and other civil society organizations on implementing them.
Our twelve peace priorities:

  1. Stop Canada’s bombing of Syria and Iraq and withdraw our troops from the Ukraine

  2. Open our borders to more refugees from Syria, Afghanistan, Libya and Iraq

  3. Sign and ratify the Arms Trade Treaty

  4. Cancel the $15 billion General Dynamics Canada contract to send weapons to Saudi Arabia and instead invest in a strategy for green jobs and renewable energy

  5. Stop the secretive $26 billion Canadian Surface Combatant program and instead build affordable housing and public transportation across the country

  6. Reduce military spending and redirect funds to social and environmental needs

  7. Implement the recommendations of the External Review into Sexual Misconduct and Harassment in the Canadian Armed Forces

  8. Launch a public inquiry into Canada’s missing and murdered indigenous women and girls and create a national strategy to end gender-based violence

  9. Hold a public inquiry into Canada’s complicity in the torture of Afghan detainees

  10. Convene public consultations for a green paper on national defence and security and on the establishment of a Department of Peace

  11. Advance the United Nations’ Security Council agenda on Women, Peace & Security

  12. Show leadership in nuclear disarmament and host an international meeting on the proposed UN Nuclear Weapons Convention to abolish these weapons of mass destruction
    Click HERE and sign our letter today

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Opinion Piece re: Idle No More Movement – Chronicle Herald

by Sandy Greenberg and Linda Christiansen-Ruffman, Nova Scotia Voice of Women for Peace, Halifax

STANDING TOGETHER

Idle No More Rally, Victoria Park
Idle No More Rally, Victoria Park

On Sunday, December 30, despite the stormy weather and less than 24 hours notice, over 100 people gathered in Victoria Park in Halifax to support the “Idle No More” movement and Chief Theresa Spence of the Attawapiskat First Nation. Chief Spence had been fasting for twenty days without solid food to support her request to speak with Prime Minister Harper as representative of one nation to another. The Idle No More movement, initiated by four Aboriginal women, has captured the imaginations of Canadians of all ages who have shown their support through letters, petitions, street actions, ceremonial drummings, speeches, and sympathetic fasts.

The storm briefly abated while Mi’kmaq singer and drummer Joan Smith led the group in the Women’s Warrior Song and the Round Dance, and Mi’kmaq elder Billy Lewis spoke of the importance of women’s leadership. Nova Scotia Voice of Women for Peace expressed our support through our presence, banners, and brief statement. The  national Canadian Voice of Women for Peace has sent a letter to Prime Minister Harper as well as encouraging others to join in solidarity.

Idle No More Demo
Idle No More Rally, Victoria Park

Canadians who want to see a livable future in our country, and a just future, share the concerns being raised by Chief Spence. We all need fresh water to drink, clean air to breath, and housing that we can be healthy in. Right now these needs are not being met in Attawapiskat and in so many other native communities. This is Theresa Spence’s pain, and this is Canada’s shame.

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples, who has called on the Canadian government to take greater action to invest in Aboriginal communities, stated, “The social and economic situation of the Attawapiskat seems to represent the condition of many First Nation communities living on reserves throughout Canada, which is allegedly akin to Third World conditions.”

We were encouraged when Prime Minister Harper, representing  all Canadians, apologized for the residential school system in 2008 and promised to build a new relationship based on partnership and respect. But actions speak louder than words. The Canadian constitution entitles First Nations to substantive consultations. The federal government has not been honouring these commitments and longstanding treaties with the First Nations. In 2006, the Harper government canceled the Kelowna Accord that committed $5 billion to improve education, health care and housing in Aboriginal communities across the country. Earlier this year, the Conservative government cut funding to some aboriginal groups. This summer, despite protests from indigenous groups, it also passed omnibus Bill C-38 which contained very damaging measures to weaken environmental assessments and threaten Aboriginal territory. Now Bill C-45, in the words of Idle No More founder Sylvia McAdam, “is not just about a budget, it is a direct attack on First Nations lands and on the bodies of water we all share from across this country,” The proposed Canada-China Foreign Investment Protection and Promotion Agreement (FIPPA) also threatens indigenous rights, and there has been no consultation on its implications. If the Harper government is sincere in respecting indigenous rights in this country and working in partnership, now is the time to take those very important steps to Chief Spence’s teepee on Victoria Island in Ottawa just steps from Parliament Hill, and listen to what she has to say.

These issues go far beyond First Nations concerns. We see the erosion of Canadian democracy and the threats to our air, water, and soil–the elements that sustain us all. We see the connection between the issues of the environment, justice, women’s rights, native rights, the growing inequality between rich and poor, and the right to a peaceful existence on this earth. We see that the Harper government is squandering our future by ignoring both the rights of native peoples and the rights of all Canadians.

We understand the importance of Aboriginal women leaders refusing to support the domination and violence that have characterized our world for centuries. They will help us end colonialism, militarism, bullying, rape, and wars, and teach us ways towards peace, equality, and respect for each other and the earth.

This is an issue for all Canadians. We can no longer be idle. We stand with Chief Spence and for future generations.

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