Making Peace Vigil

Standing up for peace

Archive for December, 2010


Posted by strattof on December 25, 2010

All we are saying is give peace a chance.

John Lennon


Peace to all people of every nation

Peace to the waters and the winds

Peace to the soil and the stars

Peace to the trees, the frogs, and the honey bees

Peace to the polar bears and the song birds

Peace to all beings on this wondrous earth

Catherine Verrall



Jimi Hendrix


What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans, and the homeless whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or under the holy name of liberty or democracy?

Mahatma Gandhi


It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war  is nothing but an act of murder.

Albert Einstein


Peace is the wholeness created by right relationships with oneself, other persons, other cultures, other life, Earth, and the larger whole of which we are a part.

The Earth Charter


You can bomb the world to pieces but you can’t bomb the world to peace.

Michael Franti






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Posted by strattof on December 21, 2010

The annual UN conference on climate change has just concluded in Cancun, Mexico.   Limited agreements have been reached, but we are a long way from getting control of the disastrous emission levels that are currently produced.  

For the 4th consecutive year, Canada won the conference’s Colossal Fossil of the Year award. What did Canada do to win this dubious honour?

  • We were one of only 3 countries to actively work against the extension of the Kyoto Protocol.
  • We refused to agree to any new binding agreement to address climate change.
  • We showed our commitment to export-oriented energy trade and to environmentally destructive extraction projects, such as tar sands and gas shale production.

Burying our heads in the tar sand

The greatest contributor to human-caused climate change is carbon dioxide created by the burning of fossil fuels. Most scientists agree that a level of 350 parts per million is the maximum tolerable level of CO2 to avoid catastrophic climate change events and to keep temperature rise below 2° C. We are already at 390 parts per million of CO2! Burying our heads in the tar sand will not make this catastrophe go away. We need to get off carbon producing energy systems.

The Saskatchewan Challenge

Here is what we need to do in Saskatchewan:

  • For our electricity, switch from coal, the worst CO2 producing fossil fuel, to renewable forms of energy, such as solar or wind.
  • Stop tar sands and gas shale development.
  • Increase energy efficiency by retrofitting homes, as well as apartment and office buildings.
  • Park our cars and start walking, biking or using public transit.
  • Place a carbon tax on fossil fuel use that makes the polluters pay.

War over ownership of the sun’s energy?

What is to be gained by switching to renewable sources of energy? Besides the obvious advantage of reducing the damage caused by extreme weather events, switching to solar and wind energy will also reduce world tension as competition for limited energy sources will diminish. Can you imagine how absurd it would be to have a war over ownership of the sun’s energy that falls equally all over the planet?

Holding corporations responsible

“It is time to establish an international climate crimes tribunal, as proposed by the Peoples Agreement drawn up in April 2010 at Cochabamba, Bolivia. Such a tribunal would function in a way comparable to the International Court of Justice, where crimes against humanity are tried. The climate crimes tribunal would try any sort of environmental crime that harms Mother Earth, and thus the right of the people for a safe environment. These would be seen as crimes against humanity. Culprits to be tried would include polluters such as those in the extractive industry. It would also put corporations, as well as their directors, in the dock for climate and environmental crimes, which are, in effect, crimes against humanity.” Ninimmo Bassey, winner of the Right Livelihood award and chair of Friends of the Earth International

Taking care of workers and poor people

As we move to phase-out fossil fuels and the fossil fuels industry, let’s make sure that we take care of the workers and the blue-collar communities where these industries are located. For every job lost in the fossil fuel economy, we must create two jobs in the Green sector of the economy.

When China, Europe, and the rest of the world eventually slap a carbon tax on our exports, then maybe we’ll see a carbon tax on greenhouse gas emissions here in Canada. If we do implement a carbon tax that gradually but steadily raises the price of fossil fuel energy, let’s make sure that poor people get reduced taxes to make up the difference. Let the polluter pay!

Common but differentiated responsibilities

What “common but differentiated responsibilities” means is that we’re all in this global warming business together, but some of us have done, and are doing, a lot more to cause it than some others, and, on that basis, we should bear the lion’s share of putting it right. We, of course, are the industrialized countries. Most of the excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere which is causing climate change was put there by us, in the two fossil-fuel-burning centuries since the Industrial Revolution began in Britain.

Waking up to reality

Our competitive growth economy will be the end of us if we don’t  wake up to the reality that the short term financial gain of extractive petroleum mining, especially tar sands in western Canada, is too destructive of the earth to remain viable. We need to change from an economic system based on growth, competition, and consumption to one based on sustainable use and cooperation. We have to stop looking at nature as an endless source of raw material to be exploited for production of stuff of questionable usefulness that ends up in the dump in a short time.

Our only hope is to develop a sustainable economic system that respects and lives within the physical realities of our home, Earth. The choice we make will determine if our species will survive. We can’t mess it all up and move and start over on another planet. This is it. There is no more!

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Posted by strattof on December 2, 2010

Saskatchewan is experiencing a boom and bust economy. While some residents have benefited from the province’s economic expansion, others have been disadvantaged. Just released 2008 Statistics Canada data reveal that 115,000 Saskatchewanians live in poverty.


49,000            Number of women who live in poverty in the province.

34,000            Number of men living in poverty in the province.

20                   Per cent of children under age 6 who live in a poor household. This makes Saskatchewan the province with the highest rate of early childhood poverty.  

45                   Per cent of Aboriginal children under age 15 who live in poverty. That’s over three times the poverty rate for children in non-Aboriginal families.

30                   Per cent of single seniors in Saskatchewan who live in poverty. 12,000 of the 15,000 senior singles living in poverty are women.

46,000            Number of unattached individuals aged 15 or more who are poor. The poverty rate for individuals living alone is two and a half times that for people living in families.

37                   Per cent of poor children living in families where at least one member is working full-time and full-year. Minimum or low wages are just not enough to keep many individuals and families out of poverty.

See for a November 2010 report on child and family poverty in Saskatchewan.


An all party committee of the Parliament of Canada has recently released a report that could change the face of poverty in Canada. The report, Federal Poverty Reduction Plan: Working in Partnership Towards Reducing Poverty in Canada, is the result of a study of the federal role in addressing poverty by the Parliamentary Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development. (To obtain a copy, do an internet search for Federal Poverty Reduction Plan.) The report calls for the federal government to immediately commit to an action plan to reduce poverty in Canada. Here are some of the main recommendations:

  • Equity: Improve the effectiveness of employment and pay equity programs.
  • Children: Raise the Canada Child Tax Benefit and supplement to reach a minimum of $5000 per child. Implement “a national strategy on early childhood education and care, including the creation of a national public child care system.”
  • Aboriginal Peoples: Provide better support for Indigenous educational institutions. Improve access to postsecondary education for Aboriginal students. Eliminate the two per cent cap on spending increases. Provide adequate funding for social programs offering services to Aboriginal children and families. Address the housing crisis in Aboriginal communities and ensure that all Aboriginal people have access to affordable, safe, and adequate housing.   
  • Seniors: Improve the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) for seniors by increasing benefits for those living alone and indexing the exemption for employment income.
  • Working Poor: Ease EI qualifications. Increase adult literacy.  Create jobs for low-income individuals. Ensure adequate wage replacement for unemployed individuals. Increase the federal contribution to public transit. Establish programs to help the most vulnerable, including a refundable Disability Tax Credit and a basic income program for persons with disabilities.


  • Send messages to Diane Finley (, Minis-ter of Human Resources and Skills Development, and to Prime Minister Stephen Harper ( urging the Harper government to commit to a federal poverty reduction plan.
  • Contact your Member of Parliament, urging him to support the poverty reduction plan: Ray Boughen, Palliser:; Ralph Goodale, Wascana:; Tom Lukiwski, Regina-Lumsden:; Andrew Scheer, Regina Qu’Appelle:
  • Also encourage your MP to vote for Bill C-304, an act to ensure secure, adequate, accessible, and affordable housing.

Recently, the government ignored recommendations from similar reports on poverty from the Senate. Don’t let this happen again. We can’t let this excellent parliamentary report just be ignored and sit on a shelf to gather dust.

 Let’s work to improve economic justice by eliminating poverty!

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