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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VOW opposes “Mother Canada” War Monument

June 1, 2015

Re: Never Forgotten National Memorial Project

To Whom It May Concern:

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.

Sincerely,

Sandy Greenberg

on behalf of Nova Scotia Voice of Women for Peace

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Letter to the Editor, Chronicle Herald – the role of Women Peacekeepers

by Sandy Greenberg

Your December 29 front page headline “2014: year of ‘horror, fear, despair’ for children” stopped my breathing; my mind raced for possible reasons. Then I saw the subtitle “UN study says 230 million kids live in areas of armed conflict”.

Children are terrified, injured, killed, and driven from their homes by armed conflict. They are also kidnapped, harmed, subjected to sexual violence and forced to become child soldiers, inflicting harm on others.

A great fear of parents is that we won’t be able to protect our children from harm. There are many things that we can’t protect them from. But is armed conflict one of those things?

Military and paramilitary campaigns attempt to establish power over others and security for the “winners”. Civilians are directly targeted, and children are not spared. Exerting violent power over others feeds the vicious cycle of harm. Instead, can we create security for all people, and therefore for all children of the world?

Humanity is in urgent need of a new way of seeing what is possible. Perhaps we can find that way by calling on the wisdom, experience and expertise of women peacemakers, as mandated by U.N. Resolution 1325, before, during and after conflicts.

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Letter to Minister Baird – Please support United Nations General Assembly Resolution L46

1 November 2012

2249 Carling Ave, Suite 418
Ottawa, Ontario
K2B 7E9

Dear Minister Baird,

It is rare that there is good news on the international front. We are bombarded with news of violence, rape, refugees, killings and maiming, threats and fear.

And while the horrific suffering of civilian populations assaulted by bombings, gunfire, personal attacks, cluster bombs, drones, depleted uranium weapons, anti-personnel mines, and more catches our attention, and while women and children face sexual attacks as a weapon of war, there is always in the background, the underlying fear of even greater devastation—the threat to our beautiful world and all the living creatures in it by nuclear weapons.

That is why we are so happy to hear of the United Nations General Assembly Resolution L46 put forward by 34 countries, as well as the Observer State Holy See.

This resolution shows that there is a hunger in the world for an end to the threat of nuclear weapons.

The resolution stresses that the usefulness of nuclear weapons for security has been rightfully questioned, and that catastrophic and irreversible damage to human life and health and the ability of our world to sustain human life would ensue if a nuclear weapon or weapons were deployed.

We are gratified that Resolution L46 stresses that the use of nuclear weapons would clearly contravene international humanitarian law regarding the prohibitions of causing unnecessary human suffering and far-reaching damage to the environment.

The Nova Scotia Voice of Women for Peace fully supports the United Nations General Assembly Resolution L46, and we urge you to commit Canada to voting for this measure.

Sincerely,

Sandy Greenberg, Betty Peterson, Joan Hicks, Caroline Green, Sarah Morgan

Nova Scotia Voice of Women for Peace

Contact Minister Baird, and encourage him to support Resolution L46 at:

Tel: 613-990-7720

Email: bairdj@parl.gc.ca

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Opinion Piece to Chronicle Herald on $25 Billion Tax Dollars for Warships

by Sarah Morgan of NSVOW
The article was a collaborative effort among many VOW members.  The theme and tone arose from two VOW meetings specifically on the topic of VOW’s response to the $25 billion ship-building contract for Nova Scotia.

Is allocating $25 billion to build warships in Halifax the best way to spend Canadian taxpayers’ money? The Nova Scotia Voice of Women for Peace supports redirecting these funds to social and environmental programs in order to build a society of peace.

We could use this money to increase our security, build the society we want, and strengthen our economy. Oscar Arias, former president of Costa Rica and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, said in a recent speech, “The terrorist attacks of recent decades have shown that our real enemies today are climate change, poverty, inequality, hunger, disease, environmental degradation and illiteracy, which can create dangers anywhere in the world.”

How do warships protect us from these threats? Oscar Arias, whose country of Costa Rica eliminated its military in 1948 after a civil war, also commented, “My country promised to dismantle the institutions of violence, and invest in the progress that makes violence unnecessary . . . In this new century, it is not only foolish and immoral, but also impractical, to spend on the symptoms, but not on the disease – to spend on threats, but not on their cause.”

Addressing these causes could include investing instead in life-affirming priorities, such as the green collar economy, human rights, women’s empowerment, early learning and childcare, affordable housing, arts and culture, health care, education, renewable energy, and environmental protection.

War economies need wars to flourish. Is that what we want to base our economy on?

What are we sacrificing? For example, CAP programs, Katimavik, and CBC, are three life-affirming areas where funding is currently being cut.

International law can also be a potent factor in conflict resolution. For example, the United Nations is helping to resolve a territorial dispute among Canada, Russia and Denmark in the Arctic. Even Senator Colin Kenny, former Chair of the Senate Committee on National Security and Defence, affirmed in an interview recently, “Issues are going to be settled in the Arctic through diplomacy and with lawyers. We’re not going to go to war up there.”

Are we even getting $25 billion? According to defence economist Dr. Ugurhan Berkok at the Royal Military College, approximately four-fifths of the contract, or $20 billion, will go to companies outside of Nova Scotia to build the navigational and weapons systems for the warships.

The “boom and bust cycle” does not support long-term sustainability in communities.

Our young people want jobs building a better world and they need the education to prepare them for these tasks. Women need to be included in economic opportunities. We need to acknowledge our responsibility to the First Nations on whose land we reside, to our neighbours in our communities, province, country, and world, to the wild creatures we share the earth with, and to our children, grandchildren and the seven generations to come.

True security comes from the absence of war and violence. To prevent war, let’s put our efforts into diplomacy and international law. Let’s work together to mitigate the climate crisis and reduce the risk of increased conflicts over resources. Let’s support human rights around the world, including the rights to clean air and water. Let’s work together to create binding and verifiable treaties to eliminate nuclear weapons world-wide and to limit trade in small arms. These are the actions that will make us more secure and support the creation of a culture of peace.

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