Making Peace Vigil

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Archive for November, 2009

ELIMINATE POVERTY IN SASKATCHEWAN

Posted by strattof on November 21, 2009

ELIMINATE POVERTY IN SASKATCHEWAN

The provincial economy has expanded rapidly in the last five years, but many individuals, children, and families in Saskatchewan remain in poverty. The most recent Statistics Canada data, from 2007, indicate that:
• 47,000 Saskatchewan women live in poverty. That’s 13% of all women in the province.
• 35,000 Saskatchewan men live in poverty. That’s 9% of all men in the province.
• 35,000 Saskatchewan children live in poverty. That’s 17% of all children, the third highest child poverty rate among Canadian provinces. (Only British Columbia and Manitoba are higher.)
• 24 per cent of single seniors in Saskatchewan live in poverty.
• Low-income families are often deeply in poverty. Poor Saskatchewan families of two or more have incomes that average $9,300 below the poverty line.

Eliminating poverty would
Improve health. Poor people have more physical and mental health problems than those with higher incomes. A recent study of a government funded social experiment in Dauphin, Manitoba demonstrates the positive effects of eliminating poverty. From 1974 to 1978, each household was guaranteed an annual income supplement to ensure that its income did not fall below the poverty line. Researchers found that hospitalization rates fell, especially for accidents and injuries. Hospitalization rates for mental health issues also declined. Dr. Evelyn Forget, of the Canadian Institute for Health Research, stated that poverty is related to stress and people appear to live healthier lives when they don’t have to worry about poverty.
Help prepare children for school and life. Investment in early childhood development helps children prepare for success at school and as citizens. In Saskatchewan, only 5.9 per cent of children under age 12 have access to regulated child care spaces – the lowest rate in the country. Studies show that early childhood education and care have a strong relationship with improved school performance, diminish the need for remediation in the school years, result in improved adult productivity, and reduce anti-social behaviour among high-risk populations. The Dauphin, Manitoba study found that teenagers stayed in school longer as a result of the guaranteed minimum income.
Benefit all households. Investment in eliminating poverty would be good for the economy, for taxpayers, and all households, in addition to helping those who are poor. A 2008 study for the Ontario Association of Food Banks found that poverty cost each Ontario household around $2,500 each year. A 2009 study by the Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada found that dollars invested in child care could result in more jobs than current federal programs giving tax credits for home renovations. Over the long term, every dollar invested in quality child care programs returns $2.54 in benefits to society.
(For sources of data and research studies, email paul.gingrich@uregina.ca)

Show your support for eliminating poverty
• Sign the Petition in Support of Eliminating Poverty in Saskatchewan. Just ask one of us about it. We also have extra copies of the petition if you would like some to take home or to your work place for signatures. On December 1, the petition will be presented to the provincial government by the Saskatoon Anti-Poverty Coalition.
• Dignity for All: The Campaign for a Poverty-Free Canada calls for a vigorous and sustained action by the federal government to combat the structural causes of poverty in Canada. Sign and return the postcard that is tucked inside this leaflet. You can also submit your name electronically at http://www.dignityforall.ca
Let’s work to improve economic justice by eliminating poverty!

MAKING PEACE VIGIL November 19, 2009

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HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS: THE CASE OF OMAR KHADR

Posted by strattof on November 18, 2009

HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS: THE CASE OF OMAR KHADR

THE NEWS

Twice in the past year, the Federal Court of Canada has ordered the Canadian government to seek the return of Omar Khadr to Canada “as soon as practicable.” In making its rulings, the Court did not mince its words, declaring Canada’s ongoing refusal to request Mr. Khadr’s repatriation an affront to “a principle of fundamental justice.” Despite the Court’s stinging indictment, the government has, on both occasions, appealed the decision.

Tomorrow, the Supreme Court of Canada will begin its hearing of the government’s appeal. Three days later, on November 16, the Obama administration is expected to make an announcement about what it will do with Omar Khadr. 

THE BACKGROUND

Omar Khadr is a Canadian citizen. He was 15 when he was taken into custody by US forces in Afghanistan in 2002, after a gun battle in which he was seriously wounded. Accused of throwing a grenade that killed a US soldier, he was detained, first at the US air base in Bagram in Afghanistan, and then at the US Guantánamo Bay Prison in Cuba. Omar Khadr has spent more than seven years, a third of his life, in US military detention. His case has still not gone to trial.  

THE LAW

  • Cape Town Principles on Child Soldiers (1997), signed by Canada: This document defines “child soldier” as “any person under 18 years of age who is part of any kind of regular or irregular armed force or armed group in any capacity.” According to the Cape Town Principles, child soldiers are to be reintegrated into society, not punished. If Omar Khadr’s case goes to trial, he will be the first ever Canadian juvenile to be tried for war crimes.
  • UN Convention Against Torture (1975), signed by Canada: Available evidence indicates that Omar Khadr has suffered physical and psychological injury as a result of prolonged and relentless exposure to torture and other illegal treatment at Bagram and Guantánamo. While at Bagram, he was interrogated by Sergeant Joshua Claus, who was later convicted in the murder of a Bagram prisoner. In 2003, the Canadian government sent CSIS agents to Guantánamo to interrogate Omar Khadr, knowing that US officials had subjected him to prolonged sleep deprivation and isolation to make him more willing to talk. In 2004, the International Committee of the Red Cross reported that interrogation techniques used at Guantánamo were “tantamount to torture.”  
  • Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), signed by Canada: The rights guaranteed by the Declaration include the right of prisoners to have their case reviewed by a court of law, to a fair trial, and to not be tortured. None of the prisoners at Guantánamo have had their cases reviewed by a court of law. All have been held under brutal conditions, enduring solitary confinement and torture, for more than 7 years.  
  • Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (1982): The Canadian Charter guarantees every Canadian citizen “the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.” Those principles include the right on arrest to be informed promptly of the reasons for the arrest; the right to legal counsel; and the right to appear before a court of law. None of these conditions were met in the arrest and detention of Omar Khadr.  
  • US Supreme Court Ruling: In 2008, the US Supreme Court ruled that the Guantánamo system of holding prisoners indefinitely without trial is unlawful. Many nations recognized the illegality of Guantánamo from the outset and successfully petitioned the US government for the repatriation of their citizens. Canada is the only western country not to have repatriated its nationals held in Guantánamo.   

THE CANADIAN CHOICE

  • We can remain silent in the face of our country’s upholding of injustice and betrayal of human rights principles.
  • Or, we can let Prime Minister Harper know that Canadians find our country’s violation of human rights repugnant and that we want the government to act immediately to repatriate Omar Khadr. Call the Prime Minister’s office and leave a short message: 613-992-4211; or email pm@pm.gc.ca

 MAKING PEACE VIGIL November 12 2009

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AFGHANISTAN BY THE NUMBERS

Posted by strattof on November 18, 2009

AFGHANISTAN BY THE NUMBERS

Begun in 2001, the US-led NATO war in Afghanistan has already lasted longer than the Second World War. The Canadian government says Canada’s combat mission in Afghanistan will continue until at least 2011–ten years after its beginning. An Angus Reid poll taken earlier this month shows that 56% of Canadians are opposed to Canada’s military engagement in Afghanistan, while only 37% support it.

AFGHANISTAN: MORE KEY FIGURES

Number of Canadians soldiers killed in Afghanistan from 2001to the present: 131

Many more have been wounded. Of those who return physically whole, a significant

number will face mental health and addiction problems.

Number of Afghan civilians killed in August 2009:  169

The figure rose to 202 in September.

Number of Afghan civilians killed in the first half of 2009: 1,013

This represents an increase of 24% over the same January to June period in 2008.

According to the UN, 310 (30.5%) of these deaths were caused by NATO forces.

Number of “angry young men” created for every Afghan killed by NATO forces: 15

Percentage increase in Taliban attacks in the first five months of 2009:  59

(compared to the same period in 2008)                      

Amount Canada has  spent on the war in Afghanistan: $8-14 billion

This is money that could have been spent on health care, education, and affordable housing.

Amount the war will cost Canadians between 2009 and 2011: $3 billion

This $3 billion could used to fund arts and culture organizations.  

Estimated total cost of the  war: $18 billion

That’s $1,500 for every household in Canada.

Percentage of Canadian funding for Afghanistan that has gone for military purposes: 90       

Only 10% has been assigned to development aid.

WHAT WE CAN DO: We can let our MPs know that the costs of the war are already too high and that the troops should be brought home now: Ralph Goodale (goodale@sasktel.net); Andrew Scheer (scheea@parl.gc.ca); Tom Lukiwski (lukiwt@parl.gc.ca); Ray Boughen (bougen.r@parl.gc.ca).

                                                                     

YOU CAN BOMB THE WORLD TO PIECES

BUT YOU CAN’T BOMB THE WORLD TO PEACE

                                                                                                Michael Franti

 MAKING PEACE VIGIL October 29 2009

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VIGIL INFORMATION

Posted by strattof on November 18, 2009

MAKING PEACE VIGIL

Bearing witness to our society’s involvement in violence and injustice

Committing ourselves to creative action for change

EVERY THURSDAY

until  PEACE  breaks out

FROM 12:00 noon to 12:30 pm

ON SCARTH STREET AT 11TH AVENUE

EVERYONE IS WELCOME

The vigil protests a range of issues on the national, provincial, and local levels, including:

  • The deployment of Canada’s military in Afghanistan
  • Canadian Pension Plan investments in corporations making weapons
  • Saskatchewan’s involvement in the uranium industry
  • The suspension of human and civil rights in the name of national security
  • The failure of the Canadian government to settle First Nations land claims
  • Social inequity in housing and employment in Regina
  • Racism in Canada and elsewhere
  • Violence against women in Canada and world wide
  • The lack of a national early learning and child care program
  • The unequal distribution of wealth both in Canada and world wide
  • War against the earth systems that give us life

 

For further information please contact:

Florence Stratton at 522-2310 or florence.stratton@uregina.ca

Catherine Verrall at 569-7699 or cfverrall@yahoo.ca

On the web: https://makingpeace.wordpress.com

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