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
HEALTH & EDUCATION
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 _____.”
Health and Education: 73
Women and Children: 52
Arts and Culture: 36
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.
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%
Women & Children 18%
Arts & Culture 11%
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.)
Source: Public Accounts of Canada, 2015: http://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/recgen/cpc-pac/2015/pdf/2015-vol2-eng.pf
Eight NS VOW members of all ages are planning to attend the 60th Session of the United Nations Commission of the Status of Women in New York in March.
They work in different fields – journalism, academia, community engagement, and students – and are all passionate about creating a world where women have equitable opportunities to their male counterparts.
Their goals in attending CSW60:
*Learn from workshops hosted by NGOs from around the world
*Bring their knowledge back to their communities in Halifax
*Take action to create a more equitable future for women and all marginalized communities
It has come to our attention that a memorial commemorating Canada’s war dead is being planned for Green Cove, a scenic rocky point on the eastern coast of Cape Breton Highlands National Park of Canada (CBHNPC) along the Cabot Trail. This will be a 24 meter statue of “Mother Canada” along with parking and other constructed areas to accommodate visitors.
It is inappropriate for the site, as national parks are mandated to protect and preserve natural areas. It will be built on a geologically significant area. It will divert attention from the cultural celebration of nature, life and beauty, to the topic of war, death, and destruction.
Rather than honoring veterans, this is a misuse of money that would be better spent studying ways to create and preserve peace, and to help those current veterans who have come back alive, but broken, as well the families of those who have not come back at all.
In addition, the fact that a company that will be involved in the project has done the study shows a conflict of interest and a lack of an unbiased review of the project. The fact that corporate sponsors’ names will be displayed on the base of the statue is crass commercialism.
As a women’s peace group, we object to this government’s use of an oversized and misplaced woman’s image to tug at our heart strings, while it continues to glorify militarism and send Canadians to kill and die abroad. We are insulted that a woman who presumably represents our caring nature is actually being used for advertising. We object to the gratuitous appeal to sentimentality (“Commemorative Ring of True Patriot Love”, “With Glowing Hearts Sanctuary”), which serves to sugar-coat the reality of war. We are told again and again by those who have experienced war that it is hell, so let’s scrap the idea of a statue that makes war something to aspire to, and let’s start working on creating peace. That is what women want.