30th Anniversary of Debert Action – Screening

FBdebert There was a full house at the auditorium of the Museum of Natural History in Halifax at the screening of Debert Bunker: By Invitation Only on the 30th anniversary of the action decrying, protesting, and ridiculing the rehearsal for nuclear war that took place at the bunker in Debert, Nova Scotia on February 29, 1984.

Directed and Produced by Liz MacDougall, the documentary showed the actions of several affinity groups who came together in 1984 to illustrate the horror that would take place outside such a bunker for everyone except the 318 men and 11 women who were chosen to be allowed into the bunker in an absurd and futile attempt to keep the government, military, and communications structures going following a nuclear attack.

With an obvious lack of understanding of what it would take for a continuation of the human race, the bunker plan would attempt to save old, white men, who would be ushered into the supposedly safe cocoon, leaving their wives and children behind to suffer and die. This 30-minute film transfixed the audience and brought them to the raw emotions of grief, rage, and defiance. The connections and common purpose felt by the participants was felt by those watching the video.

Nova Scotia Voice of Women sponsored the screening, as well as Liz MacDougall’s creation of the new digital re-make that was shown. Many Voice of Women members, including Muriel Duckworth and Betty Peterson, were at Debert that day, bringing women’s voices for peace into the cold February air.

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

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.

VOW Position on the Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA)

by Sandy Greenberg, for the national board of the Canadian Voice of Women for Peace

Are you concerned about the Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA) the Harper Conservatives are set to ratify with China?

Author Andrew Nikiforuk warns us, “Appallingly, the treaty would give Sinopec, one of the big Chinese backers of the Northern Gateway pipeline, the right to sue the government of British Columbia if it blocks the project. …Barring a revolt within Harper’s own party, the trade deal automatically becomes law on Nov. 1.”

Chinese companies will be able to sue all levels of Canadian government in secrecy. FIPA could have serious negative effects on the ability of Canadian governments to set policies in the public interest, and we will be committed to it for at least 30 years.

I urge the members of the Parliamentary Committee on International Trade conduct a full study on the Canada-China Foreign Investment Agreement (FIPA), postponingratification until our MPs can hear from Canadians on this issue.

Indeed, the Canadian Voice of Women for Peace is asking all MPs to reject the Canada-China FIPA.